The purpose of this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many Thanks, Pamalam

Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use the contact/email details    

The Madeleine Foundation - 2009*


Tony Bennett (Secretary) and Debbie Butler (Chairman)
Tony Bennett (Secretary) and Debbie Butler (Chairman)

The activities of The Madeleine Foundation in 2009

A request to the Portuguese authorities - The Madeleine Foundation, 05 January 2009
A request to the Portuguese authorities
05 January 2009
Thanks to 'Astro' for introductory text
The Madeleine Foundation has opened the New Year with a message that was submitted to several Portuguese institutions, including the Ministry of Justice, pleading for an inquest – or its equivalent under Portuguese law – to be performed in the case of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Deborah Butler, chairman of the private organisation, and Anthony Bennett, a retired solicitor and present secretary of the foundation, request the Portuguese authorities to pursue further measures, in order to fully clarify the circumstances under which Madeleine McCann disappeared, on May 3rd 2007, from Praia da Luz. They have mailed a copy of their book, "What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann? - 60 Reasons which suggest that she was not abducted", together with the letter reproduced below.


Dr. Alberto Costa
Ministério da Justiça
Praça do Comércio
1149 - 019 Lisboa

Dear Dr. Costa,

Please find below our letter asking you to hold an inquest into the disappearance or death of Madeleine McCann.

So many of us in the United Kingdom and Portugal believe that Madeleine deserves an enquiry into how she disappeared - or perhaps died in Praia da Luz on or before 3 May 2007.

For your information, together with this letter we enclose a copy of our book: "What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann? - 60 Reasons wich suggest she was not abducted", which has been on sale in the U.K. since 8 December.

Also for your information, here is a list of other Portuguese agencies to whom we have sent this letter:

Direcção Geral da Administração da Justiça
Av. 5 de Outubro, nº 125
1069 - 044 Lisboa

PGR Attorney General's Office
Procuradoria Geral da República
Dr. Pinto Monteiro
Rua da Escola Politécnica, 140
1269 - 269 Lisboa

Bar Association
Ordem dos Advogados
Conselho Geral
Largo de São Domingos, 14 - 1º
1169 - 060 Lisboa

Head of the Criminal Department
Policia Judiciara Criminal Department,
Rua Pé da Cruz, 2,
8500-640 Portimão

Yours with great respect,

Deborah Butler, Chairman
Anthony Bennett, Secretary
The Madeleine Foundation
66 Chippingfield
CM17 0DJ
Tel: 0044 1279 635 789
Mobile: 07835 716537

The Madeleine Foundation
Combating child neglect

Registered address:
66 Chippingfield, HARLOW, Essex CM17 0DJ

Dr. Alberto Costa Thursday 1 January 2009
Ministério da Justiça
Praça do Comércio
1149 - 019 LISBOA

Dear Dr Costa

re: Holding of an Inquest into Madeleine McCann's disappearance /death

I write to you on behalf of The Madeleine Foundation, a membership organisation in the United Kingdom dedicated primarily to keeping alive the issue of child neglect, which we feel lies at the very heart of the case of the 'disappearance' of Madeleine McCann. At the same time, I am pleased to enclose for your attention the booklet we have published this week, titled: "What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann? - 60 Reasons which suggest that she was not abducted". It is not yet available in Portuguese.

We have examined the statement of the Portuguese Attorney-General, made in July this year [2008], in which he announced that the investigation into Madeleine McCann's disappearance/death will be 'archived', or shelved, pending new evidence becoming available. We have also seen translation of police documents and DVDs on the case released over the past few months by the Portuguese police.

It is our view, based on the evidence – and shared we understand with the former lead investigator in the case, Goncalo Amaral - that Madeleine died in Apartment 5A in Praia da Luz, and that the parents, together perhaps with some of their other friends who were with them in Portugal, have covered up the death and know what has happened to Madeleine's body. According to the police reports and other indications, there is much evidence pointing that way. In summary, it includes:

a) the powerful evidence of the cadaver dogs, who located the smell of death, i.e. human cadaverine, in three or four locations in Apartment 5A, in the McCanns' hired car, their Renault Scenic, on the clothes of Kate McCann and on the T-shirt of one of the children, and on the soft toy known as 'Cuddle Cat'
b) evidence from DNA samples of body fluids which we understand, in summary, indicates that Madeleine died in apartment 5A but does not prove it
c) contradictory statements by the McCanns themselves and their friends about the events of 1st, 2nd and 3rd May, including various changes of story by the McCanns, and contradictions between what they, their friends and other witnesses say about the events of 1st to 3rd May 2007.

Goncalo Amaral in his book: 'The Truth about a Lie" suggests that Madeleine died in Apartment 5A and that the McCanns faked the abduction. We think his conclusion is very possible.

Had these events occurred in the United Kingdom, an inquest would - sooner or later - be held. In the U.K., inquests can be held, even in the absence of a body, if there is some evidence that the person (or child) is dead. For example, an inquest was held a few years ago on a canoeist whose kayak was found drifting in the North Sea, though no body had been found.

We write therefore to enquire if there is any similar provision in Portuguese law. Our concern is that, now that the police investigation has in effect been suspended, there is a real risk that all the circumstances surrounding Madeleine McCann's disappearance will not become known. An inquest provides an ideal opportunity for all relevant witnesses to be required to give their testimony, and be questioned. The sooner this takes place, the better, as witnesses' recollections fade, and evidence is lost.

There is much evidence in this case, thousands of pages of it according to the Policia Judiciara report released in July and since. We believe it is vital that this evidence should be presented in a court as soon as possible.

Could you please advise us as soon as possible if there is any provision in the Portuguese judicial system for holding an inquest, or any other similar public enquiry into a person's disappearance and possible death in Portugal - and also please inform us whether any moves have yet been made in Portugal to hold such an inquest or inquiry into Madeleine's 'disappearance'.

I await hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Deborah Butler
Chairman, The Madeleine Foundation

Amaral strikes again against the McCanns, 08 January 2009
24horas, 08 January 2009
Gonçalo Amaral helps English lawyer against the McCanns

Amaral strikes again against the McCanns 24horas (page 11)
Former English lawyer counts on former PJ inspector
By Luis Ferreira
7 January 2009 | 10:54
Thanks to 'Astro' for translation
A Briton has a foundation that exists to tell the true story of Madeleine McCann. And he wants the McCanns to be accused with negligence.
Gonçalo Amaral might be called to testify in England in the scope of the Maddie case. A new Foundation with the name of Madeleine intends that the process is reopened with the intention of finding the answers to what happened to the older daughter of the McCanns. "When that happens Amaral will be a key-witness" said Anthony Bennett to 24horas, a retired lawyer who is the principal person responsible for the foundation that was created after the former coordinator of the Polícia Judiciária published his book "Maddie, the Truth of the Lie".

The Foundation has edited its own book, called "What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann? - 60 Reasons which suggest that she was not abducted" and it is sold in England for 7 Euros.

Gonçalo Amaral has been contacted in order to elucidate legal reasons that involve a possible reopening of the process in England. "It will be more difficult to reopen the case over here. But in England, to the contrary of what has been alleged by the Courts, who say that they have no jurisdiction over the case, it is possible that it might happen", explained Amaral to 24horas, clarifying that it is a matter of International Law. "The little girl is English, the parents are English and they live there".

Proving Negligence

One of Amaral's aims is to prove that there was negligence by the couple in the care for the girl. For that reason, in England, through the site of the foundation, there's a petition that wants to see punished the act of "leaving alone at home a child under 12 years of age". After that it is to prove that the McCanns were negligent when they left their 3 children unguarded", says Amaral.

The foundation does not exist to raise funds to look for Maddie, but shares the point of view of Amaral, who defends that the child died in Praia da Luz. The foundation has caused the rage of the McCanns, who have advanced with a law suit against the use of the name Madeleine.


MOITA: Gonçalo Amaral is not the first PJ inspector who enters in a race for mayor. Moita Flores has already done it and won for Santarém, by the PSD. But now, Moita reveals that he has been contacted... by the PS, to be a candidate again to the City Hall. "There have been conversations", he told the newspaper "Mirante".

On The Side

The Former PJ inspector is about to start a political career but he is still connected with the case that brought him to the limelight.

He wants to change the city of Olhão

Gonçalo Amaral may be the PSD candidate to the City Hall of Olhão, running against the actual socialist Mayor Francisco Leal. That only became possible because he is retired from the PJ, which happened in the sequence of the Maddie case. Amaral is a militant member of the PSD for the last 7 years, but he says that he has "voted for the PSD since long ago". He is going to keep doing in politics what he did as a policeman. "I shall continue to be concerned about the people, about their well-being, understanding why they act in a certain manner", he said to 24horas. Amaral believes in a victory because "people like to change when there is a lot to do" and he speaks about Olhão as one of the poorest regions in the country.

This man wants to frame the McCanns, 09 January 2009
Anthony Bennett
This man wants to frame the McCanns 24horas (pages 8-9)
Anthony Bennett has decided to condemn Maddie's parents
by Pedro Emanuel Santos
09 January 2009
Thanks to 'Astro' for translation 
He launched a foundation practically on his own and says that he doesn't lack the will to discover the whole truth about Maddie's death. Anthony Bennett won't rest until he seats Gerry and Kate on the defendant's bench. Gonçalo Amaral was his inspiration
His name is Anthony Bennett, he is British, aged 61, a lawyer of profession, and since last October he has launched a veritable crusade against the parents of Madeleine McCann. His purpose is, as he himself admits without reservations, to manage to collect enough evidence for the Justice of his country to open a process against the McCanns, holding them responsible over the death of their daughter.

Anthony Bennett's "showcase" is the Madeleine Foundation, of which he is the main face. And one of its main inspirations is former Polícia Judiciária inspector Gonçalo Amaral – as 24horas reported in yesterday's edition. "We share the point of view that is expressed in his book ['The Truth of the Lie'] that the McCanns were responsible for Madeleine's death and that, with the help of friends, they concealed her body", the Foundation refers in the opening page of their internet site. "We want to take them to court", Bennett confirms in statements to our newspaper.

Anthony Bennett launched the Foundation in October. He swiftly mobilised several people who share his cause, and he even found the time to launch a book with his theories. But the resources are scarce and so are his travelling companions.

"We have approximately 20 associates, most of them British, who pay a fee of 10 pounds [11 euros] and who may, if they so desire, offer donations up to 600 pounds [662 euros]", Bennett describes to 24Horas. "We also accept money from non-members, but not over 20 pounds [22 euros] per person".

The present budget, according to his most recent calculations, is of approximately 200 euros. "This is easily explained: we spent almost everything that we had in printing the book", he justifies.

He was connected to politics

Anthony Bennett is a known person in Great Britain. He has been participating in public life for over 30 years and he has had relevant political connections.

He started out by being a candidate in several legislative elections as an independent in the lists of the Labour Party (centre left positioned). But he slowly drifted away from Labour, towards the right. He even ended up becoming one of the main faces of UKIP, a right-wing party that is clearly anti European and populist.

In 2004, he ventured out to found a political force, Veritas, and he is one of the most active voices against immigration on British soil. And he didn't hide the fact that one of his main inspirations was Ian Anderson, the leader of the National Front, a party that declares itself as the extreme right wing and with xenophobic positions.

Nevertheless, Anthony Bennett says that politics is part of the past: "I abandoned it in 2005 and I haven't had any intervention since".

Despite accusing the McCanns of "being close to the Labour Party", Bennett asserts that he is not moved by ideological motives. "What I'm interested in is in finding the truth. Nothing else", he swears.

Anonymous email left clear message

He was threatened with death

An email put a prize on Anthony Bennett's head. The police were alerted but have yet to find those responsible. The lawyer has his own suspicions…

The early days at the Madeleine Foundation weren't easy. Anthony Bennett was even seriously threatened, confronted with an anonymous email that left him frightened.

"This time you went too far. We know where you live and within two weeks there will be blood at your door and fallen people on your doorstep. You will be very lucky if you manage to survive". Thus read the electronic message that was dictated to us over the phone by Bennett himself, received in late October.

"I'm convinced that it was sent by fervent supporters of the McCann couple. I just don't know exactly by whom", the British lawyer told 24horas.

The case was immediately presented to the police authorities, that haven't managed to discover who sent the email yet. But from the outset, the authorities warned Bennett to be careful: "They even offered me protection, which I refused because I didn't deem it necessary".

Another measure that was taken by the police was the interception of all phone calls that were made to the Foundation and to the mobile phones of its main members. The intention is to immediately detect anyone who calls to scare Anthony Bennett and the collaborators – which hasn't happened until now. "They placed the phones under surveillance in order to prevent a possible incident", Anthony Bennett specified.

Despite the initial confusion, Bennett says that recently he has been living "tranquil times". And that he hopes not to have to repeat such an agonising experience. "I confess that I was somewhat afraid", he says.

For the attention of the government

The Madeleine Foundation has its offices in Harlow, Essex. But it is through its internet site that most of its initiatives are developed and its main goals are publicised. For example, an online petition that is directed at prime minister Gordon Brown, counting with 556 signatures at the moment, requesting a law that criminalises anyone who leaves children under the age of 12 alone at home.

Polemic. Anthony Bennett was one of the main instigators of a curious campaign that was carried out in Great Britain in 2001. He was the face of the British who opposed the adoption of the metric system on Her Majesty's soil. In order to make their discontent very clear, he went as far as pulling out some road signs. His enthusiasm came at a cost, and he was condemned in court over public disturbances, condemned six times over and forced to undertake community services.
McCanns irritated when they hear about Bennett

"We don’t want to give that gentleman any exposure"
The main target of Anthony Bennett and of his foundation is the McCann couple. The friction began at an early stage, as soon as the lawyer's intention to gather enough evidence in order for Gerry and Kate to be sued for neglecting their children while on holidays in Portugal, in May 2007, was known.

Bennett himself acknowledges that he was contacted by persons close to the McCanns in October, when the Foundation was made public on the internet. "The family's spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, threatened to sue me because he understood that I might induce those who want to give their donation to the campaigns that search for Madeleine, in error. And he said that he would watch our activities. He have already sent their lawyers a letter clarifying that we do not want any misunderstandings, but we haven't received a reply until now", Anthony Bennett tells 24horas.

Threats that went no further than that, at least not until now. Clarence Mitchell himself confirms to our newspaper that he spoke with Bennett and that he told him about his displeasure. "If he insists on acting in the manner in which he has acted until now, it's likely that he will become the target of a lawsuit from us. Let's see what happens from now on", Mitchell advanced.

Gerry and Kate's spokesman prefers not to make any further comment on the activities of the Madeleine Foundation and of its main mentor, directing any further information towards Maddie's parents' lawyer. "It is only him who can say anything further about the matter. Me and the McCanns, we don't want to give this gentleman's activities any further exposure", he said.

Throughout the day, yesterday, 24horas tried to contact Adam Tudor, who has an office in London, several times. Until the time at which this edition was closed, we failed to obtain any reply to our solicitations for a contact.

Clarence Mitchell

Alert. Clarence Mitchell, the McCann family's spokesman, asserted to 24horas that he is on top of everything that is being done by the Madeleine Foundation.
"We’re ready for action", he warned.

Gonçalo Amaral

Cooperation. Gonçalo Amaral recognises that he was already contacted by Anthony Bennett. "We spoke several times through the internet. This is a friendly cooperation, he hasn't paid me and I don't wish to be paid", the former Judiciária inspector told 24horas.

The McCanns

Silence. Gerry and Kate McCann haven't said a word yet to comment on the Madeleine Foundation. All their public positions on the subject are publicly assumed by their all-time spokesman, Clarence Mitchell.

Anthony Bennett's response to 24horas article, 09 January 2009
Anthony Bennett's response to 24horas article published today
09 January 2009 - 10:02PM
I feel I owe it to those who broadly support what I have done re Madeleine McCann to make a brief response to some unfortunate and highly misleading comments about me in today's '24horas article'. I have written to the journalist (who didn't ask me about these matters) asking for a prompt correction in the paper. Here's my 4 comments:

24horas: 'He started out by being a candidate in several legislative elections as an independent in the lists of the Labour Party (centre left positioned). But he slowly drifted away from Labour, towards the right. He even ended up becoming one of the main faces of UKIP, a right-wing party that is clearly anti European and populist.'
UKIP is a one-issue party that believes Britain would be better off regaining its independence and withdrawing from the European Union. Support for Britain leaving the European Union is currently running at about 50% and comes from the right, from the left, and those neither on the right nor the left
24horas: 'In 2004, he ventured out to found a political force, Veritas, and he is one of the most active voices against immigration on British soil.'
Completely untrue. Pedro Santos did not ask me about this. I have never, ever, campaigned against immigration – and in my work as a welfare rights adviser, solicitor and social worker, I have helped many immigrants. Only a few years ago, I helped a Muslim family in Harlow to win one of the largest-ever awards for racial discrimination in a case against Harlow Post Office
24horas: 'And he didn't hide the fact that one of his main inspirations was Ian Anderson, the leader of the National Front, a party that declares itself as the extreme right wing and with xenophobic positions.'
Again, wholly untrue. Pedro Santos did not ask me about this either.  Here are the brief facts about Ian Anderson. He lives in the next town to me, Epping.  He was the Chairman of a local environmental group, The Friends of Swaines Green, which fought a successful battle to save 17 acres of fine common land from development. My wife and I were also members of it. In 2001, a large group of people began a campaign to keep the pound, called 'People's Campaign to Keep the Pound'. Both Ian Anderson and I ended up on the organising committee. At that time I had no knowledge that he had once been in the National Front - whose policies he has in any event long since given up.
The group was focussed only on preventing the Labour government giving up our currency. It is a total nonsense to suggest that Ian Anderson was any kind of 'inspiration' for me. For a short time a few years ago we were in an environmental group together and then in a campaign group against joining the euro. For the record, as the son of an immigrant and whose son has married an immigrant, I am not anti-immigrant, I am neither racist nor xenophobic, and I do not support 'right-wing' policies. Politically I am known only for my opposition to Britain’s membership of the European Union, on which I still campaign from time to time - but not, since 2005, as a member of any political party. For the record I would add that I have never joined, supported nor voted for any party that could fairly be described as 'anti-immigrant' or 'racist'.
24horas: 'Polemic. Anthony Bennett was one of the main instigators of a curious campaign that was carried out in Great Britain in 2001. He was the face of the British who opposed the adoption of the metric system on Her Majesty's soil. In order to make their discontent very clear, he went as far as pulling out some road signs. His enthusiasm came at a cost, and he was condemned in court over public disturbances, condemned six times over and forced to deliver communitarian services.'
I will make three brief points:
(a) the road signs that were removed were clearly illegal under British law, being in metres. They contravened the Road Traffic Act 1984
b) the community sentence [in 2002] was overturned on appeal in the Crown Court, who gave me an absolute discharge - since the offending signs were illegal anyway
(c) the campaign was against Britain wasting over £1 billion on what would have been a wholly unnecessary and unpopular conversion of some 2 million road and footpath signs into metres. The campaign eventually succeeded in 2006 when then Minister for Transport, Alistair Darling, finally announced that the government was abandoning for good its plan to proceed with metric conversion.

McCann spokesman faces Oxford Union protest, 06 March 2009
McCann spokesman faces Oxford Union protest Oxford Mail
By Ellie Simmonds
7:00am Friday 6th March 2009
CAMPAIGNERS hoping to discover what happened to missing Madeleine McCann will stage a protest in Oxford tonight.
Members of the Madeleine Foundation — a group unconnected to the official Find Madeleine group — plan to hand out flyers while the McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell speaks at The Oxford Union.
The 32-strong group disputes the claim that Madeleine was abducted from her family’s holiday apartment in Portugal on May 3, 2007.
Mr Mitchell is speaking at the union about his career as a journalist, media industry issues, and possibly Madeleine.
Five members of the Madeleine Foundation will be handing out leaflets and a 64-page booklet called What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann?
They have been handing out leaflets in the city over the past few days in the run-up to Mr Mitchell’s appearance and it is the group's first public protest.
Founder Tony Bennett, a 61-year-old retired Essex solicitor and social worker, said: "We are a foundation to campaign for the truth about what happened to Madeleine and to ensure that she is remembered for the right reasons.
"If by the end of the evening we have informed people that there is another side of the story then our job will be done. We are not seeking to stop Clarence Mitchell speaking or cause any trouble."
The leaflet details what the group claims are contradictions in reports of what happened on the night Madeleine, then three, disappeared.
Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry McCann have led a worldwide campaign to find their daughter. They deny being involved in her disappearance.
The couple faced criticism for leaving Madeleine and her brother and sister alone in the apartment while they dined in a nearby tapas restaurant with friends, with people checking on the children periodically.
No-one from the Find Madeleine group was available to comment.
An Oxford Union spokesman said: "It is people's human right to protest in a non-dangerous and non-illegal way."

Talk Radio Europe - Maurice Boland interviews Tony Bennett, from the Madeleine Foundation, 25 March 2009
Talk Radio Europe - Maurice Boland interviews Tony Bennett, from the Madeleine Foundation Link to mp3 of interview (takes a short time to load, interview lasts 36 minutes)
Tony Bennett is the author of a new booklet entitled 'What really happened to Madeleine McCann? - 60 reasons which suggest that she was not abducted'. The booklet was sent to all 646 MP's last week. The Madeleine Foundation was set up in January 2008 to try to ensure that the right lessons were learned from Madeleine's disappearance. Last year, Tony, who is a qualified social worker and solicitor, wrote a book analysing the facts surrounding the death of Stuart Lubbock at the home of Michael Barrymore
Talk Radio Europe broadcast Tony Bennett on Mark Boland Show 7.10pm to 7.45pm, Thursday 25 March 2009
Thanks to 'Photon' for transcript
Complete Transcript

Maurice Boland: ... Right, we're going to go straight into our next guest, Interesting this, it certainly is. My guest is (author of) a new book entitled Whatever happened to Madeleine McCann, 60 reasons which suggest she was not abducted. The book was sent to 646 MPs last week. The Madeleine Foundation was set up in January 2008, to try and to ensure that the right lessons were learned from the Madeleine disappearance. Last year Tony, who is my next guest, who is a qualified social worker and a solicitor, wrote a book analysing the facts surrounding the death of Stuart Lubbock at the home of Michael Barrymore - I think he was on the show, I'm not sure whether he was. We'll find out more when we say good evening and welcome to Spain, Tony.

Tony Bennett: Yes, good evening!

MB: I say, did you join me on the Michael Barrymore story, I think you did last year sometime.

TB: It wasn't me who joined you – I'm intensely interested in that, but it wasn't me that was on the show, no.

MB: OK. Right, let's go into this booklet. First of all, this is a free booklet.

TB: No it's not free actually, no.

MB: Oh I thought it was sent to 646...

TB: Well, the book retails at £3 including postage in the UK. But the reason it was sent free to the MPs was simply because a suggestion was made by a member of the public that it be sent to all MPs and we had then, within a couple of days through the internet, sixty odd people donated ten, twenty, thirty pounds which paid for the booklet to go to all of the MPs with postage, so it was paid for by members of the public wanting their MPs to read this booklet.

MB: But then, can I ask you Tony, is this just another money-making scheme on this amazing story?

TB: Right, I've been asked that many times ..

MB: Well, I’m asking you now..

TB: Yes, let me just explain that the retail price of the book is £3, including postage, which means we send it out for something like £2.30 or so. The book is costed only to cover costs. Neither I nor any member of the Foundation has made a penny. In fact, to get the booklet produced at all, we had to pay the printer from our own resources and the whole thing is budgeted at covering our costs only.

MB: Ok so we've cleared that up. It is a booklet - let me explain to people it's not a book it is a booklet – and it's very much a booklet. Can I ask you this, also – the question I want to ask is just one word – why?

TB: Because this side of the story was not being explained in the British press, it was being suppressed, that the various reasons that I come up with, the various facts that I come up with, were not being printed or discussed in the British press and that's partly because, as you know, there have been three enormous libel awards made to the McCanns, to Robert Murat and to the Tapas 7 group of friends, which perhaps understandably, restrains the British press from giving, shall we say, these reasons which point away from an abduction and towards something else.

MB: Have you been approached by their lawyers?

TB: Not at all, let me just explain, back in October when our website went live, there was a statement in the press from the McCanns' spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, that the proposed book was libellous and that our site was libellous. I would just like to inform your listeners that, on October 27th last year, I wrote to Clarence Mitchell, their spokesman, I wrote to the McCanns themselves and I wrote to three of their lawyers offering to correct any statement on our website that they could prove to be incorrect and offering to change any statement in the proposed booklet, again if they could substantiate that it was incorrect, Five months later I've had no replies or acknowledgements to any of those five letters.

MB: OK. Let me ask you also, your interest in the case itself. You were a lawyer, I don’t know if you still practice as a lawyer.

TB: No, I've not practiced since 1999.

MB: You're a qualified social worker; tell me what your particular interest in this case is.

TB: Well, in a sense, I haven't got a particular interest. I think there are hundreds of thousands of people who also share an intense interest in this mystery. So, in a sense, I'm just Joe Public who is as intensely interested in this case as many others. I suppose, to answer your question more specifically, I did spend a lot of time researching a book on the Stuart Lubbock/Michael Barrymore case and I was persuaded after studying all of the police files in that case that there had been a very clever cover-up by the people present that evening and, to be honest, when I started to research the Madeleine McCann story, which was after they became suspects, I began to see some of the very same features of a possible deliberate cover-up.

MB: You see, from what I understand, obviously when this story broke and over the period of time up to now, this radio station and my show, in particular, have covered certain stories and we've had guests – we've had GMTV down here at one stage, very early on, when they thought she was probably in Spain and they came down and we did a live broadcast from here about it. We’ve had the policeman who, I can't remember his name now, the inspector who was brought down representing Scotland Yard. He came on the show and he made a statement saying number 1, that the suspects, the McCanns as being suspects, is a sort of a botched job by the Portuguese police, he alleged, they should have been made suspects immediately and not left for so long, because in all cases like this the first people you clear out of the scenario are the family themselves. And, by leaving it so long, it made the public think, 'a-ha', they've found something , where in cases like this immediately the family are the first people, are the first suspects and the Portuguese police didn't do that.

TB: Well, I'm glad you made that point about the parents always being the prime suspects and there are so many cases, in fact, I've researched which suggest that when parents of very young children claim that the child has been kidnapped from their own home, one has got to, obviously, be very suspicious of the parents. I think, Mr. Boland, that probably the intense media frenzy which burst on the scene in May probably made the police role particularly difficult against that background of the whole world searching for Madeleine to then suggest that the parents might be under suspicion. So I think what they did was very carefully and meticulously build up pieces of evidence. As you know, as your listeners will know, they brought over the cadaver dogs – the specially trained spaniels – to search the flat and the car for evidence of a corpse having been in those locations, which they did find. And, in the end, the evidence amounted to sufficient for them to be made suspects and, of course (if I can just add to that), we have the very informative book by Gonçalo Amaral, the original senior investigating officer, who has explained in great detail (much greater than in my book) his basis for believing that Madeleine died in apartment 5a in Praia da Luz.

MB: You see, I spoke to this inspector, I can't remember his name, he was one of the high profile inspectors which went out from Scotland Yard to the case and a couple of things he told me were interesting, first of all I put to him about the smell of death in the car, of Madeleine McCann in the boot of the car, and he explained that to me by saying that the McCanns had taken her clothing, when they left that apartment, in the car and therefore there was traces of her scent from the clothing. He also told me that the police dogs picked up her scent, this was his analysis of it, leaving the apartment to the supermarket. He reckons that her body is somewhere within the region of the apartments. He also said that, the way he saw it, she woke up and tried to go and see her mum and dad, as a frightened kid will do, and walked out of the apartment and, instead of turning right, walked straight to where there's a supermarket somewhere there and from there on her scent had disappeared and he felt that someone had picked her up from there. And that's the way he saw it.

TB: I think three basic points that you've made there, Maurice, and I'll try and deal with them carefully. Let's start with the scent that one of the Portuguese dogs found in the early days of Madeleine going, as you quite rightly say, from the apartment to supermarket. Now, as I understand it, and I'm open to correction, but that could be an alive Madeleine or it could be a dead Madeleine. So, yes there was a scent that the dogs found and it stopped at the supermarket. That's all that we know on that. It doesn't actually prove whether she was alive or dead. If we now come to the dogs' evidence, let's just briefly review that because these dogs, by the way with 100% record, of successfully alerting to a corpse, are called in for a very specific reason and that is to locate where a corpse has been. And, if they find the scent of a corpse it can only be where a corpse has lain. And, also, as you probably know, that corpse can only have been dead for about two hours or longer before that particular scent is available to the dogs. Now let's just review where that scent was found – it was found in the living room of the McCanns' apartment; it was found in their bedroom, near the wardrobe; it was found on the verandah and it was found in the garden near the bottom of the steps; it was found on the key to the Renault Scenic that they hired; it was found on the well of the car near the front door; it was also found on two separate items of Kate McCann's clothing and on a red t-shirt which might have belonged to Madeleine or her younger brother, Sean, and of course it was found on the pink soft toy cuddle cat. Now, all of those things had to be within proximity of a corpse, and in direct proximity with a corpse, so these stories about Kate's clothes might have been in contact with a dead body in Leicestershire and so on, that's far too remote. All of those items that I've mentioned, those ten items, had to be directly next to a corpse which had been dead for two hours.

MB: Can I ask you, then, first of all, let's look at the McCanns and the make-up of them as people, both of them are doctors. I don't think there’s any stories of them being in any way alcoholic, drug takers. They seem to be very grounded people, educated people. They had three young children, they had a group of very loyal friends, they were on holiday. Everything normally points to, on holiday, good times unless you're some drunk yobbo and falling off hotel balconies after a night binge drinking. I don't think this is the case at all. Out of that scenario, where does murder come into it?

TB: Well, I've – and let's just make it absolutely clear – I've never used the word murder and I've never said that the McCann have killed Madeleine, I've never that. I go with Gonçalo Amaral's belief that Madeleine dies from some kind of accident which he hasn't explained, which is as yet unexplained. I'm sorry, I've forgotten the original question now.

MB: Well, I was looking at the McCanns, because most innuendos point to them.

TB: Right, I'm going to leave all of those innuendos up, because they don't form part of my book at all. But what I think I would like to stress is the evidence we do have of Madeleine crying for 75 minutes, heard by the neighbour Mrs Pamela Fenn. Now let's leave aside all questions of the McCanns conduct, responsible doctors – fine, yes, out with friends – fine, got no problem with that at all. But, we have factually, on the record, Madeleine being heard crying for 75 minutes continuously on Tuesday, May 1st. Now, that alone tell us that something isn't, something is not quite right and it's easy to think of how many different things could happen to a child that’s unattended for that length of time. And if that happened on a subsequent night, it's possible that all manner of things could have happened, for example, as I think Mr Amaral hints at, she might well have had a fall. She might have been climbing, had a fall and cracked her head on the ceramic tiles – that is a possibility – but please, Maurice, I've never suggested murder and I've never suggested killing at all.


TB: No doubt, a tragic accident, but one which I think the McCanns must be partly culpable.

MB: OK, let's just say it's a tragic accident, for the sake of discussion at the moment. Let's go back to my observation of the McCanns. Doctors, sensible people, with friends – I put myself into that same – I'm not a doctor but I come from a medical background, family – god forbid it should happen to someone in my family, a child, one of my children or grandchildren, it should happen the first thing that a sensible person, even more so a doctor, would do is immediately call on medical help – not medical help, on some sort of situation to try to put some, some... you know, try to neutralise the situation. In this case, what's really, what's being said, if she had died of an accident the body was disposed of. And these are not.. to me, it doesn't add up here.

TB: I think possibly the word panic might be one explanation.

MB: Why should they panic? They're doctors.

TB: Well, they're doctors, and once particular reason why doctors might panic more than others is that - let’s assume that Madeleine did die from an accident when they were not in the flat as one possibility. Let's assume that as a possibility. They may have returned to find Madeleine dying or dead – and concluded that in those circumstances that any autopsy on Madeleine might well help to prove that they had been negligent. For example, it might have shown that she had been lying there or dead for sufficient time that it's quite clear that the parents should have been there, should have been there looking after her, so something of that nature, the fear of an autopsy and what it could do to their reputation as doctors might well have.....

MB: OK, we have a call coming, do you mind fielding a call?

TB: Not at all..

MB: Good evening caller...

MM: Good evening, it's Mary Morris. I just have to say that this is what I've been thinking entirely, right from the very beginning. Because as doctors, they were petrified of something that might come out of this death. And, yes, it could have been an accident. But I think they've made a very big cover up and so I'm very, very pleased that this man has written this booklet, because I really feel that we should have thought of all this a lot earlier on. You never, ever, ever, leave your children.

MB: OK. Thanks Mary

MM: Thanks Bye

MB: On that point, would mind me making a little point of that, Tony, on the point of leaving your children. I've admitted this before and I don't mind admitting it, because it's a fact. When my kids were young, possibly the same age as Madeleine McCann – I had three boys and we had a mobile holiday home in a place called Brittas Bay, just outside Dublin in Wicklow. It was a very nice area this place where we were, it was called McDaniel's, and we had a lot of friends who had these – they were very big mobile, you know what they're like, you don’t pull them behind a car mobile home – and it was a very well know place, and we all had these mobile homes and in the middle of this huge field, there was tennis courts and barbecue areas. We'd put the kids to bed and we'd walk down to the middle of the field and we'd have a barbecue. And now and again, my wife would go up or I’d go up and check the children were OK. Now anyone could have gone in – I don't think I was any greater distance than the distance they were having their barbecue – and one never thinks of some man going into the caravan and removing my children.

TB: Can I ask you – was your mobile home, or caravan, within sight of where you were?

MB: It was, yeah. And, from what I understand, it was in sight when they were eating in the restaurant, no?

TB: Well, I think that's a common misunderstanding – they're very much not. The actual distance as the crow flies was around 60 yards, 60 metres something like that. The actual walking distance was 120 yards, but the actual room where the children were was on the other side of the apartment where they could not be seen. So, I think that's one difference from your account. But the other point is this. You said that you were checking from time to time on the children – you would have done that, any responsible parent would have done that. But how are we to account for Madeleine crying for 75 minutes continually. Now that wouldn't have happened on your example on the camping site in Ireland, would it?

MB: No it wouldn't have. Let me ask you about the person who heard her crying for 75 minutes. What do we know about that person?

TB: Her name is Mrs Pamela Fenn, she was a permanent resident in Praia da Luz, she occupied the apartment immediately above, she's a widow aged 82 and it's also been reported, it's in her statement that she made to the Portuguese police which has been released, of course. It's one of the reasons that we can write the books like this, because the Portuguese police have released a lot of information. She had been discussing this with other friends who, apparently, were not surprised that she heard the children crying, because they'd heard the children crying on a previous night as well. So....

MB: It doesn't seem to be a very responsible act on behalf of the parents. I have, personally – and I'm only talking personally – and Mary, who just phone now, doesn't agree with me at all, I'm sure of that, but I don't see now, my mind has changed and of course the world has changed a lot since my kids were young, more mad people out there etc, etc. But I still could not condemn the McCanns for going to the restaurant – and I'm sure there are a lot of people in that restaurant that had very young kids that were in bed that night. I can't condemn them for that. But, it seems to me to be odd – if there was a person, and especially a woman of that age, you know more mature and more responsible, hearing a child, a very young child, crying – and one would imagine quite frantically – for one hour, one would imagine she would have at least gone downstairs and see if that child is OK.

TB: Now, you're taxing my memory of the facts in this case and I'm pretty certain that at some stage she reported her concerns to Mark Warner's, possibly the following morning, I don't think it was that night, but with hindsight, I would certainly agree with you on that point, that if she heard that for 75 minutes one would think that she might have done something about it. I wouldn't like to listen to that for more than 5 to 10 minutes without doing something about it.

MB: A woman of her age is normally, you know, people of that age are – younger people, "ahh leave them alone, they're fine", but a woman of that age is quite curious and if I was sitting in my garden and my neighbours had a child in her garden who was crying, distressed, for over one hour I would go next door and ring the bell and say is the child OK. This confuses me slightly – and the fact that the child could have slipped and banged its head and died and two parents would come back - and probably, I'm sure, adored their children – then discuss a dumping a body. It does make me worry.

TB: As I say, I can't comment further on Mrs Fenn's reasons for not reporting...

MB: She is the key to this whole thing.

TB: Well, she's not the key, what she does is she tells us the children were unattended for at least 75 minutes.

MB: And what do the McCanns say about checking the children?

TB: Well, I don't think we've had the... I mean they admit to having left those children several nights in a row, that's on the record. As to the checking of the children, they have made different claims. In the early days, we heard that they were checking every 15 minutes, sometimes every 30 minutes. Then we were told every hour. We had all these different versions. All I would say is that, errm... well let me take you to the evidence of the waiters at the Tapas bar. There are statements from the waiters at the Tapas bar where they went every night, and those waiters have said on the record that they never saw the McCanns and their friends checking on their children at all. So, I would take that into account the McCanns claim that they were checking on their children....

MB : How many people were in the Tapas bar do we know?

TB: I can't help with that, there were certainly some other families...

MB: I would say it was probably packed, because it's the middle of the tourist season, yeah?

TB: err yes,

MB: I don't think a waiter would remember if Mrs McCann went up or someone got up – and they could have gone to the toilet. How many times did Mrs McCann go to the toilet, I'd ask the waiter. I think it's an incredible thing that statement, I would say. How many times were you sitting in a restaurant – I ran restaurants for 25 years , and clubs, I would never know how many times a woman went to the toilet form a certain table. Never mind going and checking on children. You know I just think that’s very weak.

TB: Arguably they were checking their children...

MB: OK let's say they were. As I would do and possibly other parents, you know – have you got children?

TB: I've got 2 children and 1 grandchild, yes.

MB: Well, I've got 3 children, 2 grandchildren and 1 on the way even , but I'm just thinking you know – you go to this holiday resort which is like a little white village, if you want, it's not a village it's, what do you call it, apartment blocks and it's got a swimming pool in the middle and it’s got Tapas bar restaurant where people sit and drink and you can normally see the apartments – and it's the same here in Spain, you can see all of the apartments around and you go and sit – it's like if you had a big garden and you have your barbecue at the bottom of the garden, and you go up and you keep looking at your children and someone slipped in and took your child, would you then be told that you were neglecting your child? I mean in Tenerife, there's a missing child, a grandmother was inside doing the housework, her grandson was playing in the garden and when she came out to get him the grandchild was gone, abducted.

TB: I understand all of what you are saying there. I would like to just briefly mention that the NSPCC have got specific guidelines on the leaving of young children, and they do say on their own website, in their own guidance, that you should never leave young children on their own even for a few minutes. Now, I think the situation you mentioned on your holiday in the mobile home is somewhat different in that you were within vision of that caravan and it was a space where you would notice a stranger and so on. But these doctors were, they claimed to be checking every half an hour – it’s a long time to leave a child 130 yards away in a room where you can't see them.

MB: You know, the funny thing is you don't imagine, the reason that the parents are checking that their children are not waking up and are not frightened, you know, and the last thing you ever think of is that your child could die. It's beyond reason. And of course since the Madeleine McCann case, the one thing that we've all learned from this is do not leave out children for one minute and if we are going to go out, go and get a baby sitter. That's what we’ve learnt from this lesson.

TB: I'm glad you said that, that is the lesson that's been learned. It's not a lesson that the McCanns have invited us to adopt though. What they've been proclaiming is the need for all these types of amber alerts and these alert systems to abduction, but I would be glad if people do take from this terrible situation that’s happened to Madeleine, the message is don't leave your children on their own. The McCanns claimed, if you remember, that what they'd done was well within the bounds of responsible parenting, that was a quote from them. And they've never, ever, as far as I'm aware on the record, said, look, please parents, don't leave your children on their own like we did.

MB: Yeah, but that's you know, that's a really difficult thing for them to be saying. That goes without saying. If these were two uneducated people – you know the type that go away and they wear these union jack shorts and they have bottles of beer, lots of it, all day and then you see them - he’s quite heavy the man and he's diving into the pool and they're making a nuisance of themselves and they're singing songs and getting absolutely legless at night and their kids are up in the apartment and you know – but here we're talking about educated people with three young children with everything in their live s, I mean, you look at the home where they come from, there's nothing within their personality that could ever – could you, can I ask you this, could you pick your grandchild, what age is your grandchild?

TB: Three and a quarter.

MB: There you are, and what age was Madeleine?

TB: Just over that, three and three quarters.

MB: God forbid anything could happen, could you pile her body in a car and dump it?

TB: Well...

MB: I'd rather go to prison...

TB: I know. Well, I share the care of my grandson, I look after him quite a lot and I don't let him out of my sight for a second, actually. But I come back to this point Maurice, if I was responsible in some way for him suffering an accident, if that were to happen, I might well panic, I might well make up a cover story, as you said in the introduction to this programme, as happened many, many times in the past. Something happens through your negligence or your carelessness...

MB: OK you make up a cover story, but throwing a child over the side of a second, we've got a call. Good afternoon caller.

Colin: What I'd just like to say is that for police officers to go to a scene of a crime it's a very difficult thing for them to do, especially when there was no body. The only thing that they could go on is statements from different people. And to try and trace back what happened to a little child was very difficult, and the press did not help because the press said, basically, these stupid police officers of Portugal, and tried to discredit them because this couldn't happen to two doctors. And, as slowly, little bits of information are coming out – I mean, my two children were born here in Spain and they're 19 and 16 now, but we never left them once. If we ever went to a restaurant and we never had the children with us, the people in the restaurant would say don't you enjoy your children, we went everywhere with them and we enjoyed them...

MB: You see in Spain, that's encouraged, that's the lovely thing about Spain, families here in Spain, unlike in UK, will go with their children – their 3 year old, their 4 year old – at 10. 11 o'clock at night and go into restaurants and it’s encouraged. It's very different back in UK.

Caller: But this wasn't in the UK, this was...

MB: But these people were on holiday from UK, they weren't brought up here, if you know what I mean

Colin: I'm sure in that Tapas bar there were other little children, but even so, there's a lot of funny things coming out. But I'm sure that the case at the time, if there wasn't this deluge of criticism on the way the police – and these guys are professional people, they want to find the truth, they're.... that guy was so upset about the little child missing and not finding her – and they can only go on the evidence that's in front of them and the statements that were in front of them. They had a very difficult time and, of course, the press were saying two English doctors must be telling the truth. Well, there's some very funny things coming out now. I mean, personally, my personal opinion – and I hate to have to say this – but I do hope the little child has died because I would hate to think that she is in a paedophile situation.

MB: OK we have more calls coming in – you don't mind taking calls do you? Good evening caller

Bertha: Hi Maurice, it’s Bertha. I find it a bit offensive that you say that because they are doctors and because they are of a certain standing in society, that they're not capable of being irresponsible.

MB: I didn't say... what I did say was that they were doctors, they weren't big drinkers, they're educated people – the make up to me, this is only my personal view, the make up didn't seem to be the type of people who would take their young child and throw it over the side of a cliff.

Bertha: Maurice, none of us know how we would react if our personal neglect of our children led to one of their deaths. I can't even imagine how I would react.

MB: It's a good point, it's a good point

Bertha: But to suggest that because they are of a certain standing in society that they're not capable of irresponsibility is ridiculous, I mean, look what's happening to the world at the moment – all of these professional men have rolled this country and all other countries into diabolical financial situations. Now if you want to judge people on their standing in society, I think that's a prejudice that needs to be looked at.

MB: Well maybe it's a good point, but I do say that it needs the two of them to tango, if you know what I mean.

Bertha: They acted irresponsibly, they left their children and unfortunately the child has paid with her life.

MB: OK, thanks for your call. Tony, it's very emotive, of course it's very emotive and I think people will agree to disagree in this case until it's solved and the longer it goes on, and there's no body and we've heard of people being arrested and charged without bodies. In the case of the McCanns, or whoever it might be, neglect – they did talk about, in Portugal, is a case where they could have ended up in prison. What happened with that?

TB: I'm not sure if you're aware of this Maurice, but I did, rather controversially, attempt to bring a prosecution against the McCanns back in November 2007, under the 1933 Children's and Young Persons' Act for child neglect and it was on the basis that they had left their children neglectfully, left them for substantial periods of an evening without being there. The prosecution was refused on the grounds that court thought that the jurisdiction might be in Portugal rather than the United Kingdom, that was the trigger that led to the foundation of the Madeleine Foundation because when I did that there was an overwhelming response, my email box was full from hundreds of people all round England and beyond, who said "Look, thank you for doing this, these doctors placed Madeleine McCann in a vulnerable situation and they should be prosecuted like anybody else" and many people said that if they'd been working class people on a council estate, they would definitely have been prosecuted.

MB: We have another call, we'll have to take this one as the last one. Good evening caller.

Jack: Good evening Maurice, this is Jack. You know, there's a question here – there were two other children in the family. It was never mentioned – didn't they wake up and cry, didn't they feel something, see something ?

MB: Well one would imagine that if their sister was crying for one hour, that 2 children would wake up. It's a good point.

Jack: Right, right and there's never been a mention of the reaction of the two other children in this case.

TB: Can I come in there? Dr Kate McCann said, in an interview about ten months ago, that on the morning of the 3rd May, said that Madeleine came to her and said that she and Sean had been crying the night before. I don't know if you recall that, but that was stated by Dr Kate McCann herself that her two children had apparently been crying the night before so there was a reference to another child there. One point that I didn’t make earlier, briefly, was that it's on the record that the McCanns refused to pay for a baby monitor to visit the children on a regular basis. They gave a couple of reasons for doing that, first of all they said they didn't want strangers looking after their children and secondly, they claimed that their own system of checking on the children was superior to that of the baby monitor.

MB: They might have believed that. OK thanks Jack. We're going to have to wrap up. Fascinating subject that it is. Look website wise, what can our listeners get on to?

TB: Very simple

MB: Brilliant, well thanks for joining us on this show an let's hope that this will trigger something off, after all let her soul rest in peace, that somehow somewhere along that this can be solved and we can find out where her body or where she is and the case can be concluded.

TB: I very much hope so, yes.

MB: Thanks very much for joining us.
Tony Bennett gives details about the 10 locations where Eddie the cadaver springer spaniel alerted to the scent of a corpse in the McCanns' apartment, in their hired car, on their clothes etc. - plus footage of the dogs in action in Praia da Luz.

Letter to the General Medical Council from The Madeleine Foundation re McCanns' fitness to practise, 13 July 2009
Letter to the General Medical Council from The Madeleine Foundation re McCanns' fitness to practise

Monday 13 July 2009

Fitness to Practise Committee,
General Medical Council,
St. James’s Buildings
79 Oxford Street
M1 6FQ.

Dear Sir/Madam

re: Fitness to Practise: Dr Gerald McCann and Dr Kate McCann (formerly Dr Kate Healy)

I write to bring to your attention a report about the above couple, both doctors, published in the Sunday People yesterday.

Dr Gerald McCann and Dr Kate McCann are the parents of Madeleine McCann, who was reported missing by her mother at around 10.00pm on Thursday 3 May 2007. The circumstances of her disappearance remain mysterious and as yet unsolved. They were made official suspects of involvement in their daughter's disappearance in September 2007, a status that lasted until July 2008 when the Portuguese judicial authorities concluded that at that time there was insufficient evidence to charge them or anyone else with a crime against Madeleine.

Yesterday, the Sunday People published an article based on what they said was a 34-page libel writ served in Portugal against Goncalo Amaral. The McCanns and their advisers have already announced in the press that they intended to sue Mr Amaral for libel. Mr Amaral was the senior investigating officer in the case until he was removed from the investigation in controversial circumstances in October 2007. A month earlier, he was the man responsible for declaring the McCanns to be official suspects in their daughter’s disappearance.

The Sunday People says it has translated the libel writ from the Portuguese. The McCanns are claiming damages of £1 million from Mr Amaral. I wish to bring to your attention the medical and psychological condition of these two doctors, one of whom continues to practise, and both of whom we understand to be on the GMC Register.

The writ says of Dr Kate McCann that she is 'deeply and seriously depressed'. The writ goes on to describe both of the McCanns as suffering from:

  • permanent anxiety
  • insomnia
  • lack of appetite
  • irritability
  • indefinable fear

  • In the writ, according to the Sunday People, the McCanns further describe both of themselves as:

  • "totally destroyed"
  • "irreparably damaged", and
  • "totally destroyed from a moral, social, ethical, emotional and family point of view"

  • The question that arises is whether either of these doctors is fit to practise or indeed to remain on the GMC Register, at least until these serious psychological problems, suggestive of mental illness, subside. We suggest that the appropriate committee of the GMC should consider (a) suspending them from the GMC until a psychiatrist deems that they have recovered from the above symptoms and (b) providing them with the expert psychiatric help and counselling that anyone exhibiting such severe symptoms should receive from the N.H.S. Presumably if the McCanns are exhibiting these symptoms there are reports available from their G.P. or a psychiatric specialist confirming those symptoms.

    The other possibility of course, is that the McCanns are grossly exaggerating the extent of their depression or even lying about it, in order to make as much money as possible from Mr Amaral. If that were the case, there would definitely be a whole series of other questions about their fitness to remain in practice and remain on the GMC Register. Many videos and still images exist of the McCanns laughing and joking and appearing to be anything but severely depressed. That would suggest at least the possibility that they have deliberately exaggerated their sadness at and reaction to the loss of Madeleine in order to make as much money as possible from their proposed libel action.

    Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to enclose a complimentary copy of a book written by Tony Bennett, titled: "What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann? - 60 reasons which suggest she was not abducted". The book suggests that the McCanns' claim that Madeleine was abducted runs counter to a mass of evidence. Its conclusion is precisely the same as that of Mr Amaral, whose book: 'A Verdade da Mentira', ("The Truth About A Lie"), explains that the evidence suggests that Madeleine McCann died in her parents' apartment and that her body was subsequently hidden or otherwise disposed of. I should add at this point that a great many British people would categorically refuse to be treated by either of the McCanns because of what they have seen of them on TV, or read about them in newspaper articles, or in Mr Bennett's booklet. For them, the issue is trust. They do not feel that they can trust the McCanns.

    It is vital for both the medical profession and for the patient that patients have complete trust that their doctors are trustworthy. A clear example among many of why the McCanns cannot be trusted is that initially they claimed that an abductor had jemmied open the shutters to their apartment to gain entrance. Only when this was exposed as patently untrue did they then change their story, now claiming that the abductor must have entered by an open patio door and escaped with Madeleine out of a small window. These are matters we know have been brought to your attention by many others apart from us. We trust that you will take appropriate action with regard to the McCanns and their fitness to practise, taking account the contents of this letter and all the other evidence about their fitness to practice which is available to you.

    Finally, I understand that there may be a form on which official complaints should be submitted. If such a form exists, please could you send me two copies of such a form, one for each doctor.

    Yours sincerely,
    Debbie Butler
    The Madeleine Foundation

    Villagers in Rothley react to Madeleine Foundation leaflet, 14 August 2009
    Villagers in Rothley react to Madeleine Foundation leaflet BBC Radio Leicester (iPlayer)
    14 August 2009
    Transcript by Nigel Moore
    Part 1: News at 8 o'clock (Part 1 from 57:47)
    Eleanor Garnier: Good morning. Villagers in Rothley say they're sickened by leaflets handed out by an organisation claiming that Madeleine McCann was not abducted.
    Vox Pop1: "Well, to be honest, I... I felt sick in the stomach this morning, you know, that we hav... we get these put through the door. It's... it's upsetting."
    Vox Pop2: "Load of rubbish, I think. I don't believe it, any rate."
    Vox Pop3: "Ooh, I think that's dangerous stuff."
    Vox Pop4: "It's stirring up trouble, unduly."
    Vox Pop5: "I've heard those rumours before; I discount them because I have no evidence."
    EG: The Madeleine Foundation, which says it's distributing the leaflets nationally, has previously tried to bring child neglect charges against Kate and Gerry McCann. It has apologised for any offence but wants the case reopened.
    Part 2: (Part 2 from 1:04:10)
    Martin Ballard: More from Sharon in the next 20 minutes, along with the weather, and also coming up in a moments time the leaflets that are upsetting villagers in Rothley.
    Vox Pop1: "Well, to be honest, I… I felt sick in the stomach this morning, you know, that we have to come in... into our local village, you know, we hav... we get these put through the door."
    Martin Ballard: It's 8 minutes past 8. Next, this morning, a woman from Rothley is outraged that villagers have been petitioned by an organisation seeking to prove that Madeleine McCann died in her parent's holiday apartment - with the knowledge of her parents.
    The Madeleine Foundation, set up by a retired solicitor from Harlow, in Essex, shortly after Madeleine's disappearance, has previously tried to bring child neglect charges against Kate and Gerry McCann.
    BBC Radio Leicester was contacted by one of the many people in Rothley who were outraged by the allegations in the leaflets. Our reporter, Helen McCarthy, has been along to speak to Patricia Ball.
    Patricia Ball: "I had a quick skim through it and it made... almost a shiver down my spine, if that's not too dramatic. But I didn't like it. There was a nasty feel about it."
    Helen McCarthy: "Because it's such a sensitive subject for everybody living in the village; you've all been affected by it, I... I guess, haven't you?"
    PB: "Yes, and, errr... there's still a candle on the green, so everytime you go into the centre of Rothley you pass the candle and it always reminds you of Madeleine and then you think of different times of the year, as well; birthdays; Christmas; must be terrible for them."
    HM: "And what was your concern? Were you concerned in some way that... that they would have had a leaflet?"
    PB: "Yes, well, we live so close to the McCanns that I thought there was a possibility but I was frightened that the... the McCanns would receive such a... a leaflet. Some people obviously... possibly agree with this, we don't know, but I should think the feeling mostly in... in Rothley and Mountsorrel that they... they feel very sorry for the McCanns and for this to start, and stir things up again, is not nice. It didn't make us feel good."
    MB: Well, I've got a leaflet here in front of me, in the studio; a glossy A4 folded over. It basically gives 10 reasons why the group claim Madeleine was not abducted and directs people, who want to know more, towards their own website.
    The organisation which published the leaflets is called 'The Madeleine Foundation'. Now, it sounds like an organisation in support of Madeleine's parents but it's an organisation pitched against the McCanns' claims of abduction; something which has confused a lot of people in the village, as Helen McCarthy found out, when she asked around.
    Vox Pop1: "Well, to be honest, I… I felt sick in the stomach this morning, you know, that we have to come in... into our local village, you know, we hav... we get these put through the door. It's... it's upsetting. This is absolutely misleading because these supporters... I mean, I didn't know anything about the supporters of The Madeleine Foundation. You would have thought that was... that was... you know..."
    HM: "(inaudible) by the family."
    Vox Pop1: "Yes, that's right. So that's why we didn't understand and, you know, my colleague next door she was absolutely mortified this morning, you know, it's upsetting."
    Vox Pop2: "Load of rubbish, I think. I don't believe it, any rate."
    Vox Pop3: "Ooh, I think that's dangerous stuff. Don't you? I really do, I really do. I don't think I can believe that."
    Vox Pop4: "It's stirring up trouble, unduly. It is very sad that we don't know the... the outcome though, isn't it?"
    Vox Pop5: "I've not seen one. I've heard those rumours before; I discount them because I have no evidence and that's all I can really say. It's probably very disappointing to a lot of people, particularly the family themselves, but, errr... until something else comes up we'll... don't know the truth."
    MB: Well, a spokesman for The Madeleine Foundation also spoke to us. They are a group with no links to the McCanns themselves and here's their chairman, Debbie Butler.
    Debbie Butler: "We are not out to persecute the McCanns in any way at all; we just believe that she was not abducted. Errm... When you look at the facts it... it just doesn't seem to ring true. It... it... we... we want... really we would ideally like the case to be reopened and have every aspect looked at again."
    HM: "Some people in the village have been upset by the leaflets. Errm... What do you have to say to them?
    DB: "Well, errm... all I could really say to them, if... if anyone has been offended by the facts then all I can do is apologise, errm... we... we haven't, you know, gone out with leaflets to offend anybody at all. It was just out there putting this information and facts out to the general public, errm... in order for them to have the information."
    MB: Well, the foundation did say they didn't deliver a lealfet to the McCanns' home because around a year ago they gave the McCanns a copy of a similar book they'd published. We have tried to contact the McCanns themselves, through their spokesperson, Clarence Mitchell, to get their view on these leaflets delivered so close to home but we've had no response, as yet. And that was Helen McCarthy with that report.
    What really happened to Madeleine McCann? PDF File
    10 key reasons which suggest that she was not abducted
    Madeleine McCann was reported missing by her mother, Dr Kate McCann, at 10pm on Thursday 3rd May, 2007. Since then, Madeleine, who was then nearly four, has become the best-known 'missing child' in the world. The McCanns claimed she was abducted, by an abductor who has never been traced. They said they were wining and dining in a Tapas bar 100 yards away from where they had left their three young children in their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, on the beautiful Algarve coast.
    The Portuguese police believed the McCanns were involved in the disappearance of Madeleine. They were made official suspects on 7 September 2007 - and remained so until July 2008. Then, the Portuguese Attorney-General announced that there was insufficient evidence for any person to be charged in connection with Madeleine’s 'disappearance', though he added that there was evidence that Madeleine was dead. The McCanns' spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, who used to head the 40-strong British government public relations unit, claimed the McCanns had been 'cleared'.
    In October 2007, the senior detective in charge of the investigation, Goncalo Amaral, was replaced, amidst claims of British government pressure. He was best known for solving another 'missing child' case - that of 8-year-old Joana Cipriano. Due to Amaral's detective work, her mother and uncle are behind bars for long periods for her murder. They covered up her murder, claiming she was abducted. He then wrote a book, 'The Truth About A Lie', demonstrating that the evidence showed that Madeleine had died in her parents’ apartment.
    This leaflet gives 10 key reasons which suggest that Madeleine McCann was not abducted. There are a great many others. It is a shortened version of a 64-page booklet published in Britain in December 2008, titled: "What Really happened to Madeleine McCann? - 60 Reasons which suggest she was not abducted". Information on how to obtain this booklet is on the back of our leaflet.
    Reason 1: Statistics show that the vast majority of young children reported abducted from their homes are already dead
    Time after time, when young children die or are killed in their own homes, parents claim their child has really been abducted. The death may be from an accident, negligence, neglect or deliberate act. We can simply say: young children are almost never kidnapped from inside their own homes. The Portuguese police were bound to be suspicious of the parents' claims that Madeleine had been abducted. But these statistics, though very persuasive, do not prove anything. So let us look at nine other reasons which suggest that she was not abducted.
    Reason 2: The world-renowned British sniffer dogs, Eddie and Keela, detected the scent of a corpse in 10 places which strongly suggested Madeleine died in the McCanns' holiday apartment
    Here are the main facts about the findings of the two British springer spaniels, Eddie and Keela:
    * they were trained by expert dog-handler Martin Grime and are internationally famed for being able to detect the presence of a corpse (Eddie) or blood (Keela)
    * Grime said that Eddie had never ever given a 'false alert' in 200 previous outings
    * Eddie alerts only to human cadaverine - the scent of a human corpse. This is usually only produced in a corpse when the body has been dead for over 2 hours
    * Eddie alerted to the scent of a corpse in the following places: the living room, the McCanns' bedroom, the veranda and the garden of their holiday apartment, on two of Dr Kate McCann's clothes, on a T-shirt belonging to Madeleine or brother Sean, and on the pink soft toy, 'Cuddle Cat' (despite the fact that Dr Kate McCann had already washed Cuddle Cat at least once)
    * Eddie also detected the smell of death in the McCanns' hired Renault Scenic car
    * Keela found blood at some of the same locations
    * Eddie and Keela were taken to many other apartments and cars in Praia da Luz, but did not alert anywhere else
    * checks were made by the Portuguese police as to whether anyone else had died in the McCanns' apartment or in their car. No-one had
    * a neighbour made a witness statement saying that for weeks she saw the McCanns' hired car with its boot open all night long.
    The dogs' evidence was therefore very clear: a corpse had been in all those 10 locations, and it could only have been the corpse of Madeleine McCann.
    Reason 3: The strange reactions of the McCanns when they became aware of the sniffer dogs' findings
    The McCanns initially reacted by desperately inventing possible explanations for the dogs' findings. Family members claimed the death smell on Dr Kate McCann's clothes was due to having attended six corpses at work during the fortnight before her holiday. She even claimed that the death smell on 'Cuddle Cat' was because she took Madeleine's toy to work. Then they claimed the smell of death and body fluids found in the car could have come from 'rotting meat' and 'dirty nappies' in the boot. Finally, they fell back on claiming the dogs' findings were 'unreliable' and 'valueless'. These explanations were offered only to the media, not to the police.
    Reason 4: The sheer impossibility of the abduction scenario
    The McCanns have claimed that the abductor entered through an unlocked patio door, found Madeleine in the dark, then decided to open curtains, window and shutter of the children's bedroom and climb through a window 3 feet above the ground and barely 2 feet wide. He is supposed to have done this without waking any of the three children. According to the McCanns and their friends, he must have done this within the space of 2-3 minutes, in the dark, without being seen or heard, nor leaving any forensic traces like fingerprints, hair, fibres, skin fragments, shoe prints, or glove marks, nor any trace of abrasion marks on or around the window and window-sill. This scenario is so unlikely that we can simply say: this did not happen. When the window-frame was examined, only Dr Kate McCann's fingerprints were found on it.
    Reason 5: The refusal of the McCanns and their friends to help the police
    * in September 2007, the police asked Dr Kate McCann 48 questions about Madeleine's disappearance. She only answered this one: "Are you aware that in not answering the questions, you are jeopardising the investigation, which seeks to discover what happened to your daughter?" She answered: "Yes, if that's what the investigation thinks".
    * the McCanns deleted mobile 'phone records, and refused to allow the Portuguese police to examine any of their medical or financial records including credit card records.
    * the McCanns publicly offered to take a lie detector test, then changed their minds
    * the McCanns and their 'Tapas 7' friends also refused to attend a proposed police reconstruction of the events the night Madeleine was reported missing. Yet they travelled to Portugal for a Channel 4 film which reconstructed their own version of what happened the night Madeleine was reported missing
    * a Portuguese newspaper, Sol, tried to talk to one of the McCanns' friends, Dr David Payne, about what had happened. He refused to talk, saying: "This is our matter. We have a pact". He added that all requests for quotes and interviews must go through Dr Gerald McCann. Why would the group need to have what has been called a 'Pact of Silence' about the circumstances surrounding Madeleine's 'disappearance'?
    Reason 6: Changes of story by the McCanns and their friends
    There have been many changes of story by the McCanns and their friends, and many contradictions within their versions of events - far too many to list here. For example:
    * initially, the McCanns claimed that an abductor forced entry to the apartment by 'jemmying open the shutters'. The police and Mark Warners' staff examined the shutters, proving this was untrue. The McCanns quickly changed their story to say the abductor must have come in via the open patio door and exited through a small bedroom window
    * the description of an abductor by McCanns' friend Jane Tanner changed several times
    * until very recently, the McCanns' website described a moustachioed man, over 6ft tall, as 'the probable abductor', when there was no evidence connecting this man, seen by a tourist days before Madeleine was reported missing, to the events the night Madeleine went missing. Further, he looks nothing like the 5' 7" man described by Jane Tanner.
    Reason 7: The McCanns' rush to appoint lawyers and PR experts
    Immediately Madeleine was reported missing, the McCanns appointed many lawyers and public relations experts to help them, including extradition lawyers. What use would lawyers and PR experts be in finding their daughter? Maybe the McCanns knew from the outset that they would need lawyers and PR folk to defend them?
    Reason 8: The strange reactions of the McCanns and their friends after she claimed to have found Madeleine missing
    What is one to make of these reactions of Dr Kate McCann on finding Madeleine missing and stating she noticed the shutter and window open?
    * she searched the apartment 'for 10 minutes', despite on her own evidence the probability that she was not there
    * she left the twins in her apartment whilst she ran to the 'Tapas Bar' to raise the alarm
    * she failed to check on the twins' well-being. The first thought through most mothers' minds would have been whether they could also have been interfered with.
    In addition:
    * in the days after Madeleine went missing, the McCanns were apparently happy to leave the twins in the crèche whilst they courted the media. If they were genuinely distraught by losing one child, would they not stay protectively close to the two they had left?
    * the McCanns admit they never physically searched for Madeleine
    * despite the claim of Jane Tanner that she had seen a man walking with a child in a certain direction, the McCanns and their friends failed to organise a concerted search in along the route he might have taken.
    Reason 9: Making long-term plans to mark Madeleine's alleged abduction - whilst claiming she was alive and could still be found
    From the early days, the McCanns made plans for events to mark the day Madeleine went missing - a sign they didn't expect to find her:
    * just a month after she 'disappeared', Dr Gerald McCann said: "We want a big event to raise awareness that she is still missing. It won't be a one-year anniversary, it will be sooner than that"
    * then, on 28 June 2007, he said: "I have no doubt we will be able to sustain a high profile for Madeleine's disappearance in the long-term"
    * the McCanns trade-marked the name 'Madeleine's Fund' and highlighted Madeleine's eye defect - the coloboma - boasting that her eye defect was 'a valuable marketing ploy'. This was against the advice of the Portuguese police. You can view where Dr Gerald McCann says this at:
    Why make long-term plans if Madeleine could be found at any time? Strangely, Madeleine's eye defect doesn't figure in 'Missing Person' descriptions of her on the Portuguese police or Interpol websites. In March 2009, before a Parliamentary Committee, Dr McCann claimed British media made Madeleine 'a commodity'. Yet just a fortnight after Madeleine went missing, he and his advisors set up a website, a private company to raise money (note: not a charity), and produced goods for sale.
    Reason 10: Dr Kate McCann washing the toy 'Cuddle Cat'
    The McCanns claimed Madeleine always took her favourite soft toy, 'Cuddle Cat', with her. They then said the abductor had handled 'Cuddle Cat', placing it on 'a high shelf or ledge'. The abductor could have left valuable forensic traces on the toy. So why did Dr Kate McCann decide to thoroughly wash it, something most mothers say they could never do to the soft toy of their missing child. Later, despite Dr Kate McCann washing Cuddle Cat, cadaver dog Eddie detected the smell of death on it. The smell of death remains on items long after they have been thoroughly cleaned.
    If Madeleine McCann was not abducted, and died in the McCanns' apartment as the original senior detective in the case has very good reason to believe, then those that caused or allowed her death have - so far - got away with it. To read more about what really happened to Madeleine McCann, you can order our 64-page booklet: "What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann? - 60 reasons which suggest she was not abducted" from our website: or from the address below. Cost £3.00 including postage; please make out cheques to 'The Madeleine Foundation'. Or visit one of these websites which also have further information:

    To join our campaign for justice for Madeleine, contact The Madeleine Foundation at 66 Chippingfield, HARLOW, Essex, CM17 0DJ Tel: 01279 635789
    * Published and printed by Supporters of The Madeleine Foundation, 1 May 2009

    McCann leaflets cause local anger, 14 August 2009
    McCann leaflets cause local anger BBC News
    Page last updated at 19:22 GMT, Friday, 14 August 2009 20:22 UK
    The family of missing girl Madeleine McCann have criticised leaflets posted in their home town.
    Madeleine, of Rothley, Leicestershire, was three when she went missing from a holiday flat in Portugal on 3 May 2007.
    The fliers are from a group which is calling for the case to be reopened - but the move has prompted an angry response from some residents.
    The McCanns said the organisation was not connected to them and its actions could hamper their search.
    Resident Patricia Ball explained the leaflet had stirred up memories still fresh in the minds of the community.
    "It sent a shiver down my spine," she said. "I did not like it at all, it had a nasty feel about it.
    "There is still a candle on the green, so every time you go into the centre of Rothley, you pass the candle and it always reminds you of Madeleine."
    The group said it had not delivered a leaflet to the McCanns' house as they had been given a copy of a similar publication previously.
    The McCanns released a statement saying they did want to dignify the organisation by giving any response - but they believed it did not have Madeleine's best interests at heart.
    They added they felt that, if anything, it was hampering efforts to achieve justice on Madeleine's behalf.

    Madeleine Foundation leaflet, 14 August 2009
    Madeleine Foundation leaflet BBC East Midlands Today

    14 August 2009
    BBC East Midlands Today feature on the Madeleine Foundation leaflet, which was distributed today in Rothley.
    The feature includes an interview with Debbie Butler and, on the BBC link above, starts at 05:29.
    Transcript (of interview section)
    By Nigel Moore
    16 August 2009
    Anne Davies: Well, a little bit earlier I spoke to Debbie Butler; she's the chair of the Madeleine Foundation, and I asked her whether she felt it had been a wise move to put out the leaflets in Rothley.
    Debbie Butler: Errm... Well, we're actually doing a nationwide campaign at the moment, errm... also internationally, so they've not just been distributed in Leicester and Rothley... and today they're in the South West and Notthingham, so...
    AD: I don't know if you're aware but you have hugely upset an awful lot of people in Rothley. They feel outraged.
    DB: Yes, I have heard that some people are upset, errm... and on the radio this morning... I'm not apologising for distributing the leaflets, errm... and I'm... I just apologise to the people if they're upset by reading the facts because they are facts, that are con...
    AD: (cuts in) Do you not think though that you maybe should have thought this a bit more through? And...
    DB: Oh, we have.
    AD: ...and, okay, if you're going to leaflet, just do it, but leave that village out of it, you know, they've been through a lot over the last couple of years.
    DB: Yes, errm... we are... as I said, it's a nationwide campaign; we need to put the leaflets into as many doors as possible, errm... all over the country. Errr... at least 10,000 have been distributed in Wales; we've had them going to France, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Portugal. Errm... As I said, today they're in the South West and Nottingham...
    AD: (cuts in) So... so, let's get this right then...
    DB: ...and we've had very positive feedback.
    AD: Sorry to interrupt, but you... you're going to get this... you're not going to apologise to Rothley for doing this and... and some people was saying...
    DB: (cuts in) No, I apologise if anyone has been offended by reading the facts but they are the facts and they're based on 30,000 pages of evidence.
    AD: I don't want to get into that Debbie because...
    DB: Okay.
    AD: know, facts can be changed for anyone. We want to talk about the leaflets...
    DB: Yep.
    AD: ...and there are some people who've said... you know, because the leaflet does say, you know: 'you've read this, now read the book'. Are you doing this just to publicise your book?
    DB: No, not at all. The book's been out for more than a year and the McCanns actually received - along with their lawyers - errm... a copy of the booklet before it went into print and we gave them the opportunity to read the book and if they disagreed with anything or they wanted anything removed from the book - prior to printing - we would have done so.
    AD: Okay...
    DB: We heard nothing and they threatened to sue us and they still haven't done so. So everything that is in that book, and the leaflets, are facts and, as I said, they were...
    AD: (cuts in) Well, we'll leave... we'll leave it there because, to be perfectly honest, you know, they might be facts as you... as far as you're concerned...
    DB: (cuts in) No, they are facts taken from the police files.
    AD: (continues talking) ...but not as far as everyone is concerned...
    DB: (continues talking) ...they are facts.
    AD: But we are out of time, Debbie, but thanks very much for speaking to us.
    DB: Okay. Thank you, very much.

    Villagers get 'McCanns did it' letter, 15 August 2009
    Villagers get 'McCanns did it' letter The Sun
    Published: 15 August 2009
    THE parents of Madeleine McCann were angry and upset yesterday after neighbours were sent leaflets claiming they were to blame for her death.
    Vile campaigners put copies of the four-page publication though every door in their home village of Rothley, Leics.
    Produced by the "Madeleine Foundation", it included "Ten Reasons Why Madeleine McCann was Not Abducted".
    Maddie vanished in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007 when three. The leaflet says if she died in the family's holiday flat those who caused or allowed the death "got away with it".
    The group, which claims wildly that Kate killed Maddie and Gerry helped hide the body, added "Reasons Why Her Parents Should Be Prosecuted."
    The McCanns, both 41, were said to be "totally horrified".
    A source close to them said: "This is an evil, despicable act. These people are self-obsessed, self-absorbed individuals."
    The group claims on its website it is dedicated to combating child neglect.
    Its secretary is disgraced solicitor Anthony Bennett whose bid to bring a private prosecution against the McCanns last year was thrown out of court.
    The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "We don't wish to dignify the actions of the so-called Madeleine Foundation in any way."
    Foundation chairwoman Debbie Butler denied harassing the McCanns. She said: "We were perfectly within our rights to distribute the leaflets."
    Note: This article says: 'The group, which claims wildly that Kate killed Maddie and Gerry helped hide the body, added "Reasons Why Her Parents Should Be Prosecuted."'
    This is a complete fabrication by Antonella Lazzeri.
    The Madeleine Foundation have never in their booklet, leaflets or any public statement said: (a) that Dr Kate McCann killed Maddie, nor (b) that Dr Gerald McCann helped hide the body, nor (c) published 'reasons why Madeleine's parents should be prosecuted'.
    This clearly breaches the Press Complaints Commission's Code of Practice by being 'inaccurate' and a formal complaint will be lodged.

    'Sickos target the McCanns' - Daily Star, paper edition, 15 August 2009

    DailyStar, 15 August 2009
    DailyStar, 15 August 2009

    Kate and Gerry blamed in leaflet to neighbours, 15 August 2009
    Kate and Gerry blamed in leaflet to neighbours Daily Star
    By Jerry Lawton
    15th August 2009
    MADELEINE McCann's parents were under police protection last night after a sick leaflet blaming them for the disappearance was posted to 1,500 of their neighbours.
    Officers stepped up patrols around the home of doctors Kate and Gerry, both 41, in case the smear campaign escalates into violence.
    And police warned those behind the mass leaflet drop that they face prosecution for harassment.
    Four-page pamphlets listing "10 key reasons which suggest she was not abducted" were posted through 1,500 letter-boxes in the McCanns' home village of Rothley and the nearby city of Leicester.
    One was delivered to each house in the posh cul-de-sac where the couple live – except their own.
    Up to 10 people are suspected of the night-time leaflet drop, including one man on a motorbike.
    The leaflets were the work of The Madeleine Foundation – a group that tried unsuccessfully to bring a private prosecution against the couple for neglecting their daughter the night she vanished from their Portuguese holiday flat.
    The smear campaign comes just a week after the McCanns' detectives made an appeal to find a Posh Spice lookalike they believe could have masterminded Madeleine's abduction.
    Three days after the then three-year-old vanished from Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007, the mystery Australian woman approached a British stag night reveller at a mar-ina 880 miles away in Barcelona and asked him: "Are you here to deliver my daughter?"
    Police suspect the fresh appeal for information may have sparked the new hate campaign.
    In a joint statement the couple said: "We do not wish to dignify the actions of the so-called Madeleine Foundation with any response.
    "We do feel it is important, however, that the general public are made aware the Madeleine Foundation has no connection whatsoever with our family or those helping us to find Madeleine, or any law enforcement agencies or child welfare organisations.
    "We also strongly believe that the actions of this so-called organis-ation' do not have Madeleine's best interests at heart.
    "If anything, it is hindering all of our efforts to find Madeleine and to achieve justice."
    A family pal added: "This is an absolute disgrace. Just how much do Kate and Gerry have to go on suffering?
    "They are still battling to come to terms with someone abducting their daughter. Every day must be a living nightmare.
    "Yet people who have nothing whatsoever to do with them or the case take it upon themselves to do something like this.
    "It is plain and simple harassment and their lawyers will ensure the police act accordingly.
    "Officers are having to step up patrols of the area in case this whole thing escalates.
    "Kate and Gerry are obviously upset. It must be terrible to think that all your neighbours are reading these despicable lies."
    The Daily Star cannot publish many of the allegations contained in the leaflet for legal reasons.
    The leaflet supports the conclus-ions of disgraced Portuguese det-ective Goncalo Amaral, who was behind the decision to name Kate and Gerry as suspects in Madeleine's disappearance and was subsequently sacked after accusing British police of siding with them.
    He went on to pen a best-selling book in which he alleges Madeleine died inside the holiday apartment.
    The McCanns have had their suspect status lifted and have hired private detectives to try to find their daughter.
    Last night their neighbours branded the leaflets "ludicrous and insensitive".
    Patricia Ball, 71, who lives just 250 yards from Kate and Gerry, said: "The things that were being said made me cringe. It sent shivers down my spine. It was very upsetting. It just seemed to be a nasty and provocative leaflet."
    Alice Connell, 34, who lives nearby, said: "I felt sick to the stomach when I read it. It just seems like a vendetta against Kate and Gerry."
    Last night Madeleine Foundation leader Tony Bennett, 61, a retired solicitor from Harlow, Essex, who wrote a book about the case, admitted he was behind the leaflet drop.
    "I do not fear any legal action from the McCanns," he said.
    "If anyone can demonstrate that any fact in the leaflet is incorrect then I will happily change it.
    "We have distributed 1,500 in the Rothley and Leicester area."
    A police spokesman said the matter is under investigation.

    'Offensive' McCann posters put up, 15 August 2009
    'Offensive' McCann posters put up Leicester Mercury
    Saturday, August 15, 2009, 09:30
    Offensive leaflets about Kate and Gerry McCann posted in their home village have been taken down by neighbours.
    The leaflets had been put on trees and noticeboards, and posted through villagers' letterboxes, over the past few days by the Madeleine Foundation.
    The pressure group has repeatedly claimed Madeleine was not abducted.
    The leaflets list 10 reasons why the organisation thinks Kate and Gerry McCann should be prosecuted.
    Kate and Gerry McCann issued a statement yesterdaythrough their spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, in which they said: "We do not wish to dignify the actions of the Madeleine Foundation with any response at all.
    "We do feel it's important, however, that the general public are made fully aware that the Madeleine Foundation has no connection whatsoever with our family or those helping us to find Madeleine, or any law enforcement agencies, or any child welfare non-governmental organisations.
    "We also strongly believe that the actions of this organisation do not have Madeleine's best interests at heart.
    "If anything, this organisation has hindered all our efforts to find Madeleine."
    A source close to the family called the posters "grossly offensive" and "entirely wrong".
    Madeleine was nearly four when she went missing from her family's holiday flat in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007.
    Rothley Parish Council chairman Percy Hartshorn said: "The posters have gone up on noticeboards and on trees on the green.
    "We have been taking them down because they are really quite offensive. They seem to have gone up over the last few days.
    "I think some have been put through people's letterboxes, so we hope people will just throw them straight in the bin.
    "We had enough of this sort of thing at the time."
    Debbie Butler, chairman of the Madeleine Foundation, said the leaflets were part of an international campaign.
    She said the Madeleine Foundation was printing 10,000 of them a day, with hundreds distributed in Leicestershire.
    She said: "These leaflets are not a new thing, they are part of nationwide and international campaign.
    "They have been delivered in Leicestershire this week, and next week will be delivered in Nottinghamshire and the South West. They will also be mailed to France, Belgium and Australia.
    "They coincide with the release of the book What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann? Sixty reasons which suggest she was not abducted."

    Sick backlash: McCanns tormented by leaflet campaign blaming them for Madeleine's disappearance, 15 August 2009
    Sick backlash: McCanns tormented by leaflet campaign blaming them for Madeleine's disappearance Daily Mail
    Last updated at 10:11 AM on 15th August 2009
    The parents of Madeleine McCann were last night said to be devastated by a hate campaign suggesting they were responsible for their daughter's disappearance.
    A leaflet entitled 'Ten reasons to suggest that Madeleine McCann was not abducted' was distributed to 10,000 residents of the village where they live and the surrounding area.
    It was even sent to residents of the street in Rothley, Leicestershire, where Kate and Gerry McCann, both doctors, live with their four-year-old twins Sean and Amelie.
    The leaflet was not delivered to the McCanns' home.
    The Madeleine Foundation, which distributed the leaflet, was set up by former lawyer Tony Bennett, 60, who has previously tried and failed to bring a private prosecution against the couple for child neglect.
    He and his supporters have produced a 64-page anti-McCann book entitled 'What really happened to Madeleine McCann? Sixty reasons to suggest that she was not abducted'.
    Like the leaflet, it is emblazoned with a picture of the missing girl, who was aged three when she disappeared from her parents' holiday apartment in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007.
    The leaflet says her parents' version of events on the night she disappeared is a 'sheer impossibility'. It suggests it is more likely that Madeleine died in the apartment and that they covered up her death.
    Residents of Rothley last night expressed outrage at the leaflet, an extract of the book, which calls for the case to be reopened.
    One resident, Patricia Ball, said: 'It sent a shiver down my spine. I did not like it at all, it had a nasty feel about it.
    'There is still a candle on the green, so every time you go into the centre of Rothley, you pass the candle and it always reminds you of Madeleine.'
    A copy of the original book was sent to the McCanns' home several months ago, causing them great upset.
    A family friend told the Daily Mail the couple were considering legal action and were 'devastated' by the campaign.
    Their spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said: 'We do not wish to dignify the actions of the so-called Madeleine Foundation with any response. We do feel it is important, however, to make the general public aware that the foundation has no connection whatsoever with our family or those helping us find Madeleine or any law enforcement agencies.
    'We strongly believe the actions of this organisation do not have Madeleine's best interests at heart. If anything, it is hampering our efforts to find Madeleine and achieve justice on her behalf.'
    Last year, the McCanns expressed anger at the foundation, which they described as a fee-paying club dedicated to blaming them for Madeleine's disappearance – members pay £10 to join.
    Mr Bennett's attempt to bring a private prosecution against the couple two years ago was thrown out by Leicester magistrates on the grounds that they had no jurisdiction over the case because she disappeared abroad.
    Mr Bennett said at the time: 'We are a group of people who want to get to the truth of what happened to Madeleine.'
    McCanns to sue over leaflet distributed in their OWN VILLAGE blaming them for Madeleine's disappearance Daily Mail
    Last updated at 1:36 PM on 15th August 2009
    (Article identical to that reproduced above, apart from the following paragraph inserted between the original 2nd and 3rd paras:)
    A source told MailOnline the couple intend to pursue legal action and may even bring in the police.

    The McCanns' stalker, 16 August 2009
    The McCanns' stalker Sunday Express

    Sunday Express, 16 August 2009
    Sunday Express, 16 August 2009

    By James Murray
    Sunday August 16, 2009
    A woman leading a leaflet campaign about Madeleine McCann has left the girl's parents distraught.
    The couple spent yesterday with lawyers and may call in police after Debbie Butler visited the road where they live in Rothley, Leicestershire, to deliver highly inflammatory leaflets to neighbours suggesting that Madeleine was not abducted.
    "Angry and upset" Kate and Gerry McCann are consulting their lawyers about how to react to last week's extraordinary late-night leaflet drop which involved 10 people.
    As well as discussing an action for libel, the McCanns want to know if there are grounds to pursue a harassment action and are considering calling in police.
    Although single mother-of-two Ms Butler, 45, decided not to post the leaflet through the couple's letterbox, a copy was sent to Kate's aunt and uncle, Brian and Janet Kennedy, who live just a mile away in the same village.
    A source close to the couple said yesterday: "Kate and Gerry are very upset and angry over these despicable lies. They feel they are being persecuted. This time the group has gone too far.
    "They are now considering legal action over the leaflets. It is a clear case of harassment, indirectly if not directly. It must now become a police matter.
    "Brian Kennedy thought it was outrageous and immediately contacted Kate. He had lots of calls from confused villagers who had received leaflets, asking what was going on. It caused pain, upset and confusion."
    However, Ms Butler, who admits involvement in the leaflet drop, said last night: "We just want the case reopened. We are not out to persecute the McCanns.
    "We haven't harassed them at all, we have leafleted. We are not harassing the McCanns in any way whatsoever. We are not stalking them. We are getting facts out in the public domain.
    "If anything, we are helping them by putting the facts out there and attempting to get the case back off the shelf. We are assisting the McCanns."
    Ms Butler, of Maidstone, Kent, has a daughter of 23 and an adopted son, aged eight.
    She is chairman of the so-called Madeleine Foundation, formed in July last year and works closely with the foundation's secretary, solicitor Tony Bennett, 61, who lives in Harlow, Essex.
    He and the group tried to bring a private prosection against the McCanns for neglect but it was thrown out of court.
    In Rothley many of the McCanns' neighbours said they were disgusted by the insensitive actions of the group.
    Sandra Thompson, 51, who lives nearby, said: "It is pretty disgraceful that a group writes that stuff and then sends it to the neighbours of Gerry and Kate.
    "It is obviously going to drum up hate for the family and I imagine that they are still going through hell."
    In a statement Kate and Gerry, who are both 41, said: "We feel it is important that the general public are made aware that the Madeleine Foundation has no connection whatsoever with our family or those helping us to find Madeleine, or any law enforcement agencies or child welfare organisations.
    "We also strongly believe that the actions of this so-called organisation do not have Madeleine's best interests at heart.
    "If anything, it is hindering all of our efforts to find Madeline and to achieve justice."
    Madeleine was nearly four when she went missing from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in Portugal on May 3, 2007, while her parents dined with friends nearby.
    Last night their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "Libel lawyers acting for Kate and Gerry are very well aware of the Madeleine Foundation and all its activities and continue to monitor everything they do and say."
    Yesterday copies of the leaflet that had been pinned to trees and notice boards in Rothley had all been torn down.

    Accusatory leaflets scare McCanns, 16 August 2009
    Accusatory leaflets scare McCanns Correio da Manhã
    UK: Parents of Maddie feel threatened and ask for police protection
    by João Tavares
    16 August 2009 - 00h30
    Thanks to Astro for translation
    Gerry and Kate McCann have asked for police protection after leaflets that contain arguments which lead to the couple's guilt in the disappearance of Maddie, on the 3rd of May 2007, in Praia da Luz, Lagos, were distributed last Friday to the population of Rothley, England, where they live.
    'What really happened to Maddie McCann? – Ten key reasons which suggest that Madeleine McCann was not abducted'. This is the title of the 500 leaflets that were distributed to the post boxes of various houses by members of the Madeleine Foundation. Curiously, that did not happen at Kate and Gerry's residence. The leaflet points out ten reasons and justifies them with some facts.
    "We are peaceful people, we don't harm anyone, all we want is to get our message through. I don't understand why the McCanns went to ask the police for help," the head of the foundation, Anthony Bennett, said during a phone conversation with Correio da Manhã.
    The lawyer, who has long battled over the existence of a private investigation into the case, justified the creation of this measure. "Late last year we launched the book '60 reasons why Madeleine was not abducted', we have already sold 3000 copies, and now we wanted to create a summed-up version and to pass it on to the population. The majority of the English people do not know what happened that night, but many believe that Gerry and Kate are not telling the whole truth," Bennett said, explaining that the leaflet distribution started last May, in areas like London, Devon, South Wales, Nottingham and Leicester. "Basically, we share the arguments that were presented by investigator Gonçalo Amaral."

    A friend of the McCann family told the English press that this leaflet is nothing but "an evil act". "It's terrible for Kate and Gerry to know that their neighbours are reading lies. The family is suffering and they feel deceived, because these leaflets will not help to find Maddie at all."
    The Ten Reasons
    1 – Most children abducted from home are already dead
    2 – Sniffer dogs detect cadaver odour inside the apartment
    3 – The couple's strange reactions after the dogs' discoveries
    4 – The impossibility for an abductor to have entered the house
    5 – The McCanns' and their friends' refusal to help the police
    6 – The McCanns' and their friends' change of the story's version
    7 – The McCanns rushed to hire lawyers and spokespeople
    8 – The friends' strange reaction after Kate announced the abduction
    9 – The McCanns made plans to mark the disappearance in the future
    10 – Gerry and Kate washed the soft toy that Maddie always carried

    Madeleine McCann: Sickos target parents in hate campaign, 16 August 2009
    Madeleine McCann: Sickos target parents in hate campaign Sunday Mercury
    by Vicky Farncombe
    Aug 16 2009
    KATE and Gerry McCann have been targeted in a sick Midland hate campaign which claims they are to blame for their daughter's death.
    Leaflets entitled 'Ten reasons to suggest Madeline McCann was not abducted' have been pushed through every door in the family's home village of Rothley, in Leicestershire.
    The toddler vanished in Praia de Luz, in Portugal, in 2007.
    A source close to the McCanns said they were "totally horrified" by the hate campaign.

    Maidstone mum in justice campaign for Madeleine McCann, 17 August 2009
    Maidstone mum in justice campaign for Madeleine McCann Kent Messenger

    Debbie Butler

    by Helen Fairley
    Monday, 17 August 2009

    A Maidstone woman is leafleting homes across the UK to try and get the investigation into Madeleine McCann's disappearance re-opened.

    Mum of two Debbie Butler, 45, is the chairman of the Madeleine Foundation, a group set up in July 2008 to call for justice for the missing youngster.

    Madeleine McCann went missing from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal on May 3, 2007 while her parents and friends dined near by.

    The foundation has caused controversy by distributing a leaflet, which gives "10 key reasons which suggest she (Madeleine) was not abducted" in the Leicestershire street where Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry McCann live.

    Ms Butler denied targeting the McCann's and said the information in the leaflet had come from the police reports into the disappearance.

    She said: "I just want the information to be in the public domain.

    "I am compelled to continue until I get justice for this little girl."

    Read the full interview in this Friday's Kent Messenger.

    Do the McCanns really want to find Maddie?, 19 August 2009
    Do the McCanns really want to find Maddie? 20 Minuten Online (Swiss site)

    Kate and Gerry McCann

    By Karin Leuthold
    19 August 2009
    Thanks to KazLux for translation

    Their daughter Maddie had been abducted, said Kate and Gerry McCann since May 2007. Wrong, says the Madeleine Foundation. The parents themselves were guilty of Maddie's death. But the investigations against them were systematically undermined. By the British government.

    The approach of the "Madeleine Foundation" is clear and simple: Its members do not believe the version of the McCanns, they do not believe that their daughter Maddie was abducted on 3 May 2007 by an unknown from her bedroom in the Portuguese holiday resort. They believe, rather, the child was dead and they suspect that Kate and Gerry McCann have something to do with her death.

    The "Madeleine Foundation" has "search for the truth" written on the banner. Their view of things coincides precisely with that of the deposed Portuguese chief investigator Gonçalo Amaral.

    The organization will not rest until the parents would be held to account, is stated on its website. 20 minutes Online spoke with Vera Steinke, the German representative of the 'Madeleine Foundation'.

    20 minutes online: Ms. Steinke, what is the motivation of the "Madeleine Foundation" to work on behalf of the little girl?

    Vera Steinke:
    We say quite simply that the British people have a right to a fair presentation of the facts and analysis, which lead to only one conclusion: namely that no kidnapping can have happened. In the case of missing Madeleine, we have the example of an unusual pair, who are suspected of a serious crime, but are supported by the British Government and the British press by its massively one-sided reporting.

    You claim that the McCanns would be supported by the British government? Why?

    Unfortunately, this is still today the big question. There is only conjecture and speculation but nothing concrete. It is clear that from the beginning a massive intervention and support by the British government took place, well above and beyond what is normal (usual). It would seem as if it was not just about the disappearance of a little girl.

    About what, then?

    There are two facts, that are worth mentioning here: one is the current spokesman of the McCann family, Clarence Mitchell, a former government spokesman, who, on the instructions of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, took on the media work for the parents in September 2007 - shortly after they were declared suspects. On the other hand, the Portuguese investigator Gonçalo Amaral has been removed from the case, after the Summit in 2007 and a conversation between Gordon Brown and his Portuguese counterpart José Sócrates - precisely at the moment when he had developped a critical attitude towards the parents.

    Gonçalo Amaral has not been working on the case since the autumn of 2007. He is disseminating through the Internet the theory that Maddie is dead and that by the hand of the parents - as a result of an accident or a crime -. Why does he not get more attention?

    It seems that forces in the British government are preventing this case from being investigated objectively and in all directions. Only one theory is allowed, namely that of the parents, of the alleged abduction, although no evidence exists. Gonçalo Amaral had to give up the case, when he officially declared the parents suspects, after the sniffer dogs had found clear evidence.

    What does your organization do specifically, in order to help in resolving the matter?

    Because the members of the "Madeleine Foundation" are not investigators, they cannot do anything in this direction. You can, however, by actions - such as petitions, try to request the British Government to reconsider the case, for example for neglect and violation of oversight duty of the parents. The distribution of leaflets in Leicester and the surrounding area a few days ago, for example, has caused a lot of stir in the British press.

    Do you think that the case will be opened again?

    The parents seem in any case not to be interested in a resumption of the case. This in turn raises a further question: Why not? Parents, whose child has disappeared, should have the biggest interest in the clarification of such a case.

    Couple defend Madeleine leaflet, 22 August 2009
    Couple defend Madeleine leaflet Nottingham Evening Post

    Saturday, August 22, 2009, 07:00

    A NOTTS couple who delivered leaflets in Clifton about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have defended their actions.

    Grenville Green and his wife, Helene Davies-Green, have been campaigning on behalf of the Madeleine Foundation.

    The pressure group has repeatedly claimed Madeleine was not abducted and their leaflet presents evidence gathered by the Portuguese police about her disappearance.

    The pensioners from Nuthall have also dropped leaflets in Rothley, Leicestershire, the village where the McCanns live.

    Mrs Davies-Green said: "We're not trying to upset anyone or stir anything up, we just want people to look again at the case."

    Leaflets about Kate and Gerry McCann posted in Rothley were taken down by neighbours.

    Following the leaflet drop, Mr and Mrs McCann issued a statement through their spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, in which they said: "We do not wish to dignify the actions of the Madeleine Foundation with any response at all."

    Carter-Ruck letter to Debbie Butler, 27 August 2009
    Carter-Ruck letter to Debbie Butler Scribd

    Carter-Ruck letter to Debbie Butler, 27 August 2009, page 1

    Carter-Ruck letter to Debbie Butler, 27 August 2009, page 2

    Carter-Ruck letter to Debbie Butler, 27 August 2009, page 3

    BBC respond to complaint from The Madeleine Foundation, 12 September 2009
    BBC respond to complaint from The Madeleine Foundation

    12 September 2009

    Reproduced below is the BBC response to a complaint from The Madeleine Foundation about an interview that took place, on 14 August 2009, between Anne Davies, East Midlands Today presenter, and Debbie Butler, chair of the Madeleine Foundation.

    Specifically, this complaint related to the following two exchanges:


    Debbie Butler: No, I apologise if anyone has been offended by reading the facts but they are the facts and they're based on 30,000 pages of evidence.

    Anne Davies:
    I don't want to get into that Debbie because...


    AD: know, facts can be changed for anyone. We want to talk about the leaflets...


    (cuts in) Well, we'll leave... we'll leave it there because, to be perfectly honest, you know, they might be facts as you... as far as you're concerned...

    (cuts in) No, they are facts taken from the police files.

    (continues talking) ...but not as far as everyone is concerned...

    (continues talking) ...they are facts.


    BBC response:

    10 September 2009

    Dear [name withheld]

    Thanks for your e-mail regarding 'East Midlands Today'.

    Firstly, I should apologise for the delay in getting back to you. We realise that our correspondents appreciate a quick response and I'm therefore sorry that you've had to wait on this occasion.

    I understand that you have concerns regarding how Anne Davies spoke of facts in a leaflet from The Madeleine Foundation.

    Your complaint has been discussed with the programme's senior editorial team.

    There are several groups which could be described as being against the McCann family and obviously their views can be very controversial especially in the McCann's home town of Rothley in Leicestershire.

    The premise of the East Midlands Today report and subsequent interview on 14 August with Debbie Butler, chairman of the Madeleine Foundation, was to concentrate on the emotional aspects in terms of the distress caused specifically in Rothley by the group's leaflet distribution. This intent was well signposted for viewers in the introduction, during the filmed report and the introduction to the interview.

    That said, in retrospect whilst the interview was robust and challenging we do feel that a comment from the East Midlands Today presenter about the facts in the leaflet referred to by the Madeleine Foundation may have erroneously given rise to a perception that the BBC held a view on the matter. We would like to assure you that this is not the case and apologise if such an impression may have been given.

    To this end, I can assure you that your complaint has been registered on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that's circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers.

    Thanks again for taking the time to contact us with your feedback.


    Sarah Wilson
    BBC Complaints

    The Madeleine Foundation receive legal letters from Carter-Ruck, 17 September 2009

    Released 7.00pm. Thursday 17 September 2009

    On 1 and 2 September in the post Debbie Butler and Tony Bennett received legal letters from Carter-Ruck, sent by staff working under the direction of Adam Tudor, Partner. As most of you will know, Carter-Ruck is universally acknowledged as the leading and most expensive firm of libel lawyers in the country and successfully obtained nearly £1 million in libel damages against various British media and newspapers on behalf of the McCanns and their 'Tapas 7' friends during the early part of 2008.

    Both of us have received letters making the following six key demands:

    To permanently take down our website at
    2)  To deliver up to Carter-Ruck all outstanding copies of the booklet "What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann? - 60 Reasons which suggest that she was not abducted"
    3)  To deliver up to Carter-Ruck all outstanding copies of the leaflet: "What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann? - 10 Key Reasons which suggest that she was not abducted"
    4)  To erase all electronic copies of both the booklet and the leaflet
    5)  To use our best endeavours to remove all allegedly defamatory postings by either of us on any website, forum or blog, and
    6)  To permanently cease from making any further allegedly defamatory statements about the McCanns.

    The nature of the alleged defamation is that we have publicly suggested that Madeleine McCann died in the McCanns' holiday apartment in Praia da Luz and that the parents bear at least a degree of responsibility for her death. In this respect we adopt the conclusions of Goncalo Amaral in his best-selling book published last year, 'The Truth About The Lie'.

    In addition, Tony Bennett received a separate legal letter in relation to postings he made about Brian and Patrick Kennedy on the now-defunct 3Arguidos website in July this year.

    We cannot hide the fact that these letters and how to react to them have created some uncertainty and pressure as we decide how to reply. We are taking legal advice on what are clearly highly complex legal issues.

    This pressure was increased when on Tuesday 15 September we received further legal letters from Carter-Ruck informing us for the first time that under something called the 'Pre-action Protocol for Defamation' we were expected to reply in full to their demands within 14 days. They have now insisted that unless we reply in full to all letters by tomorrow (Friday 18 September 2009) they will immediately instruct a barrister to draw up a libel writ.

    It may be recalled that on 27 October 2008, Debbie Butler as Chairman of The Madeleine Foundation wrote to the McCanns themselves, Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns Chief Public Relations Officer, Carter-Ruck themselves and two of the McCanns' many other lawyers, offering to withdraw or amend any statement we had made on our website in our '30 Reasons' article or that was in our forthcoming book, '60 Reasons' (which we published on 7 December 2008) that they could demonstrate to be untrue. No reply has ever been received to any of those five letters, until the letters we received on 1 and 2 September.

    We regard it as wholly disproportionate to demand replies from us within 14 days when these letters did not arrive until 310 days after we wrote to them on 27 October 2008 - and we have said so in no uncertain terms.

    We are consulting with lawyers and until we have received their advice which could include having to seek a barrister's opinion, we cannot yet say how we will respond.

    It is against this background that Debbie and Tony jointly admit to a misunderstanding between them during the course of 15 September which led to Debbie posting a notice on a Madeleine forum that she would not be working with The Madeleine Foundation 'until further notice'. That misunderstanding has now been fully cleared up and we remain united in our commitment to the work of The Madeleine Foundation. Debbie will remain as Chairman and Tony as Secretary. We both wish to say sorry to our members and supporters who were troubled at the news that Debbie might be leaving and at the same time thank all of you who have been kind enough over the past two days to send us messages of goodwill and encouragement.

    At the same time, Tony Bennett, having received appropriate legal advice, has already replied, earlier today, to the legal letter received by Carter-Ruck on behalf of Brian and Patrick Kennedy. Accompanying this statement is Tony's on-the-record reply to that letter.

    We should just like to add this. Any fees incurred for legal advice will be met personally by ourselves and the funds in The Madeleine Foundation's bank account will not be used.

    Our plans continue with our meetings in Cardiff on 3 October, south Manchester on 14 November, and of course our 2nd International Conference in the East Midlands on 27 & 28 February 2010.

    Finally, we would like to report that we have reached an agreement with Steve, our webmaster, for the maintenance of our website to be transferred to a new webmaster in the near future. Steve is kindly maintaining our website until such time as a new webmaster is secured. We both wish to place on record our thanks to him for having created our website back in October 2008 and having successfully maintained it since then.

    Debbie Butler and Tony Bennett

    Letters from The Madeleine Foundation to Carter-Ruck, 17/18 September 2009
    Letters from The Madeleine Foundation to Carter-Ruck

    In response to Carter Ruck, two letters were sent. Both are reproduced here in their entirety:

    Letter 1

    From: Tony Bennett M.A.

    Isabel Hudson
    International Press Centre
    76 Shoe Lane
    EC4A 3JB
    Thursday 17 September 2009

    For the attention of Isabel Hudson

    Your ref: IH/DH/13837.1

    Dear Sirs,

    re: Brian Kennedy and Patrick Kennedy

    I reply to your letter of 28 August.

    I deal firstly with the four allegations you set out on page 1 of your letter:

    (1)  "That Brian Kennedy bought a house (in Cheshire) where he regularly met with intelligence operatives he appointed including those from Metodo 3"

    RESPONSE: You say this is 'untrue', but do not say whether the whole or part of that statement is untrue. We do have what we consider to be sound information that there is indeed a house in Cheshire, in Knutsford in fact, which is used by Brian Kennedy as the centre of intelligence-gathering operations connected to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

    Further, if you look at the long article by Mark Hollingsworth, below, it is plain from that that Brian Kennedy did indeed in effect 'run' the intelligence operation as I described in my post on 3Arguidos.

    Indeed, that article makes some serious allegations against Brian Kennedy. For example, Mr Hollingsworth alleges that:

    • "The involvement of Brian Kennedy and his son Patrick in the operation was counter-productive, notably when they were questioned by the local police for acting suspiciously while attempting a 24-hour ‘stake out’,” and that:
    • “Key witnesses were questioned far too aggressively, so much so that some of them later refused to talk to the police”.

    He also stated: “Instead the efforts of the private eyes served only to scare off witnesses, waste funds and raise false hopes”.

    The allegations that Mr Kennedy’s activities ‘scared off witnesses’ and that ‘key witnesses were questioned far too aggressively, so much so that some of them refused to talk to the police’ are very serious allegations, which could be held to amount to the commission of the criminal offence of interfering with the course of justice, or a similar offence of interfering with a criminal investigation which we understand is a criminal offence known to Portuguese law.

    There are also many questions about Brian Kennedy’s precise role in his intelligence-gathering operation, not least what was the subject matter of his discussions with suspect Robert Murat in Portugal in November 2007. His attempts to speak to Mr Martin Smith, a potential witness to events in Praia da Luz, were another concern. Then there were the reports that on 13 January 2008, Mr  Kennedy or one of his representatives interviewed Albert Schuurmans, Head of the Roscoe Foundation, based in the Algarve. Mr Schuurmans was reported to have claimed, wrongly, that ‘there are no orphanages in Espiche’, which had a bearing on an alleged sighting of a possible abductor by a Mrs Cooper.

    However, in the light of the statement in your letter and your assurance that my claim is untrue, I undertake not to publish that or any similar allegation, in any medium, unless and until I have absolute proof of any of the facts that I have claimed.

    (2)    “That Madeleine McCann died in apartment 3A and that Brian Kennedy is at the centre of a huge, costly and well-organised cover-up operation”

    RESPONSE: By now, millions of people worldwide believe that Madeleine McCann died in Apartment 5A in Praia da Luz. In my case, my opinion is formed substantially on the basis of the facts about the investigation into her disappearance set out by the original senior detective in the case, Goncalo Amaral. I am however willing to give the following undertaking, in the terms you suggest: I undertake not to publish that or any similar allegation, in any medium.

    (3)    “That Patrick Kennedy was said to be intimately involved with the McCann operation or cover-up”

    RESPONSE: At this point, I need to reproduce the recent article on your clients penned by mark Hollingsworth of the ‘Evening Standard’:

    Mark Hollingsworth Investigates The McCann Files

    Disillusioned with the Portuguese police, Gerry and Kate McCann turned to private detectives to find their missing daughter. Instead the efforts of the private eyes served only to scare off witnesses, waste funds and raise false hopes. Mark Hollingsworth investigates the investigators.

    by Mark Hollingsworth

    It was billed as a ‘significant development’ in the exhaustive search for Madeleine McCann. At a recent dramatic press conference in London, the lead private investigator David Edgar, a retired Cheshire detective inspector, brandished an E-FIT image of an Australian woman, described her as ‘a bit of a Victoria Beckham lookalike’, and appealed for help in tracing her. The woman was seen ‘looking agitated’ outside a restaurant in Barcelona three days after Madeleine’s disappearance. ‘It is a strong lead’, said Edgar, wearing a pin-stripe suit in front of a bank of cameras and microphones. ‘Madeleine could have been in Barcelona by that point. The fact the conversation took place near the marina could be significant.’

    But within days reporters discovered that the private detectives had failed to make the most basic enquiries before announcing their potential breakthrough. Members of Edgar’s team who visited Barcelona had failed to speak to anyone working at the restaurant near where the agitated woman was seen that night, neglected to ask if the mystery woman had been filmed on CCTV cameras and knew nothing about the arrival of an Australian luxury yacht just after Madeleine vanished.

    The apparent flaws in this latest development were another salutary lesson for Kate and Gerry McCann, who have relied on private investigators after the Portuguese police spent more time falsely suspecting the parents than searching for their daughter. For their relations with private detectives have been frustrating, unhappy and controversial ever since their daughter’s disappearance in May 2007.

    The search has been overseen by the millionaire business Brian Kennedy, 49, who set up Madeleine’s Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned, which aimed ‘to procure that Madeleine’s abduction is thoroughly investigated’. A straight-talking, tough, burly self-made entrepreneur and rugby fanatic, he grew up in a council flat near Tynecastle in Scotland and was brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness. He started his working life as a window cleaner and by 2007 had acquired a £350 million fortune from double-glazing and home-improvement ventures. Kennedy was outraged by the police insinuations against the McCanns and, though a stranger, worked tirelessly on their behalf. ‘His motivation was sincere,’ said someone who worked closely with him. ‘He was appalled by the Portuguese police, but he also had visions of flying in by helicopter to rescue Madeleine.’

    Kennedy commissioned private detectives to conduct an investigation parallel to the one run by the Portuguese police. But his choice showed how dangerous it is when powerful and wealthy businessmen try to play detective. In September 2007, he hired Metodo 3, an agency based in Barcelona, on a six-month contract and paid it an estimated £50,000 a month. Metodo 3 was hired because of Spain’s ‘language and cultural connection’ with Portugal. ‘If we’d had big-booted Brits or, heaven forbid, Americans, we would have had doors slammed in our faces’ said Clarence Mitchell, spokesperson for the McCann’s at the time. ‘And it’s quite likely that we could have been charged with hindering the investigation as technically it’s illegal in Portugal to undertake a secondary investigation.

    The agency had 35 investigators working on the case in Britain, France, Spain, Portugal and Morocco. A hotline was set up for the public to report sightings and suspicions, and the search focussed on Morocco. But the investigation was dogged by over-confidence and braggadocio. ‘We know who took Madeleine and hope she will be home by Christmas,’ boasted Metodo 3’s flamboyant boss Francisco Marco. But no Madeleine materialised and their contract was not renewed.

    Until now, few details have emerged about the private investigation during those crucial early months, but an investigation by ES shows that key mistakes were made, which in turn made later enquiries far more challenging.

    ES has spoken to several sources close to the private investigations that took place in the first year and discovered that:

    * The involvement of Brian Kennedy and his son Patrick in the operation was counter-productive, notably when they were questioned by the local police for acting suspiciously while attempting a 24-hour ‘stake out’.
    * The relationship between Metodo 3 and the Portuguese police had completely broken down.
    * Key witnesses were questioned far too aggressively, so much so that some of them later refused to talk to the police.
    * Many of the investigators had little experience of the required painstaking forensic detective work.

    By April 2008, nearing the first anniversary of the disappearance, Kennedy and the McCanns were desperate. And so when Henri Exton, a former undercover police officer who worked on M15 operations, and Kevin Halligen, a smooth-talking Irishman who claimed to have worked for covert British government intelligence agency GCHQ, walked through the door, their timing was perfect. Their sales pitch was classic James Bond spook-talk: everything had to be ‘top secret’ and ‘on a need to know basis’. The operation would involve 24-hour alert systems, undercover units, satellite imagery and round-the-clock surveillance teams that would fly in at short notice. This sounded very exciting but, as one source close to the investigation told ES, it was also very expensive and ultimately unsuccessful. ‘The real job at hand was old-fashioned, tedious, forensic police work rather than these boy’s own, glory boy antic,’ he said.

    But Kennedy was impressed by the license-to-spy presentation and Exton and Halligen were hire for a fee of £100,000 per month plus expenses. Ostensibly, the contract was with Halligen’s UK security company, Red Defence International Ltd, and an office was set up in Jermyn Street, in St James’s. Only a tiny group of employees did the painstaking investigative work of dealing with thousands of emails and phone calls. Instead, resources were channelled into undercover operations in paedophile rings and among gypsies throughout Europe, encouraged by Kennedy. A five-man surveillance team was dispatched in Portugal, overseen by the experienced Exton, for six weeks.

    Born in Belgium in 1951, Exton had been a highly effective undercover officer for the Manchester police. A maverick and dynamic figure, he successfully infiltrated gangs of football hooligans in the 1980’s. While not popular among his colleagues, in 1991 he was seconded to work on MI5 undercover operations against drug dealers, gangsters and terrorists, and was later awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for ‘outstanding bravery’. By all accounts, the charismatic Exton was a dedicated officer. But in November 2002, the stress appeared to have overcome his judgement when he was arrested for shoplifting.

    While working on an MI5 surveillance, Exton was caught leaving a tax-free shopping area at Manchester airport with a bottle of perfume he had not paid for. The police were called and he was given the option of the offence being dealt with under caution or to face prosecution. He chose a police caution and so in effect admitted his guilt. Exton was sacked, but was furious about the way he had been treated and threatened to sue MI5. He later set up his own consulting company and moved to Bury in Lancashire.

    While Exton, however flawed, was the genuine article as an investigator, Halligen was a very different character. Born in Dublin in 1961, he has been described as a ‘Walter Mitty figure’. He used false names to collect prospective clients at airports in order to preserve secrecy, and he called himself ‘Kevin’ or ‘Richard’ or ‘Patrick’ at different times to describe himself to business contacts. There appears to be no reason for all this subterfuge except that he thought this was what agents did. A conspiracy theorist and lover of the secret world, he is obsessed by surveillance gadgets and even installed a covert camera to spy on his own employees. He claimed to have worked for GCHQ, but in fact he was employed by the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) as head of defence systems in the rather less glamorous field of new information technology, researching the use of ‘special batteries’. He told former colleagues and potential girlfriends that he used to work for MI5, MI6 and the CIA. He also claimed that he was nearly kidnapped by the IRA, was involved in the first Gulf War and had been a freefall parachutist.

    Very little of this is true. What is true is that Halligen has a degree in electronics, worked on the fringes of the intelligence community while at AEA and does understand government communications. He could also be an astonishingly persuasive, engaging and charming individual. Strikingly self-confident and articulate, he could be generous and clubbable. ‘He was very good company but only when it suited him’ says one friend. He kept people in compartments.’

    After leaving the AEA, Halligen set up Red Defence International Ltd as an international security and political risk company, advising clients on the risks involved in investing and doing business in unstable, war-torn and corrupt countries. He worked closely with political risk companies and was a persuasive advocate of IT security. In 2006, he struck gold when hired by Trafigura, the Dutch commodities trading company. Executives were imprisoned in the Ivory Coast after toxic waste was dumped in landfills near its biggest city Abidjan. Trafigura was blamed and hired Red Defence International at vast expense to help with the negotiations to release its executives. A Falcon business jet was rented for several months during the operation and it was Halligen’s first taste of the good life. The case only ended when Trafigura paid $197 million to the government of the Ivory Coast to secure the release of the prisoners.

    Halligen made a fortune from Trafigura and was suddenly flying everywhere first-class, staying at the Lansborough and Stafford hotels in London and The Willard hotel in Washington DC for months at a time. In 2007 he set up Oakley International Group and registered at the offices of the prestigious law firm Patton Boggs, in Washington DC, as an international security company. He was now strutting the stage as a self-proclaimed international spy expert and joined the Special Forces Club in Knightsbridge, where he met Exton.

    During the Madeleine investigation, Halligen spent vast amounts of time in the HeyJo bar in the basement of the Abracadabra Club near his Jermyn Street office. Armed with a clutch of unregistered mobile phones and a Blackberry, the bar was in effect his office. ‘He was there virtually the whole day,’ a former colleague told ES. ‘He had an amazing tolerance for alcohol and a prodigious memory and so occasionally he would have amazing bursts of intelligence, lucidity and insights. They were very rare but they did happen.’

    When not imbibing in St James’s, Halligen was in the United States, trying to drum up investors for Oakley International. On 15 August 2008, at the height of the McCann investigation crisis, he persuaded Andre Hollis, a former US Drug enforcement agency official, to write out an $80,000 cheque to Oakley in return for a ten per cent share-holding. The money was then transferred into the private accounts of Halligen and his girlfriend Shirin Trachiotis to finance a holiday in Italy, according to Hollis. In a $6 million lawsuit filed in Fairfax County, Virginia, Hollis alleges that Halligen ‘received monies for Oakley’s services rendered and deposited the same into his personal accounts’ and ‘repeatedly and systematically depleted funds from Oakley’s bank accounts for inappropriate personal expenses’.

    Hollis was not the only victim. Mark Aspinall, a respected lawyer who worked closely with Halligen, invested £500,000 in Oakley and lost the lot. Earlier this year he filed a lawsuit in Washington DC against Halligen claiming $1.4 million in damages. The finances of Oakley International are in chaos and numerous employees, specialist consultants and contractors have not been paid. Some of them now face financial ruin.

    Meanwhile, Exton was running the surveillance teams in Portugal and often paying his operatives upfront, so would occasionally be out-of-pocket because Halligen had not transferred funds. Exton genuinely believed that progress was being made and substantial and credible reports on child trafficking were submitted. But by mid-August 2008, Kennedy and Gerry McCann were increasingly concerned by an absence of details of how the money was being spent. At one meeting, Halligen was asked how many men constituted a surveillance team and he produced a piece of paper on which he wrote ‘between one and ten’. But he then refused to say how many were working and how much they were being paid.

    While Kennedy and Gerry McCann accepted that the mission was extremely difficult and some secrecy was necessary, Halligen was charging very high rates and expenses. And eyebrows were raised when all the money was paid to Oakley International, solely owned and managed by Halligen. One invoice, seen by ES, shows that for ‘accrued expenses to May 5, 2008’ (just one month into the contract), Oakley charged $74,155. The ‘point of contact’ was Halligen who provided a UK mobile telephone number.

    While Kennedy was ready to accept Halligen at face value, Gerry McCann – sharp, focused and intelligent – was more sceptical. The contract with Oakley International and Halligen was terminated by the end of September 2008, after £500,000-plus expenses had been spent.

    For the McCanns it was a bitter experience, Exton has returned to Cheshire and, like so many people, is owed money by Halligen. As for Halligen, he has gone into hiding, leaving a trail of debt and numerous former business associates and creditors looking for him. He was last seen in January of this year in Rome, drinking and spending prodigiously at the Hilton Cavalieri and Excelsior hotels. He is now believed by private investigators, who have been searching for him to serve papers on behalf of creditors, to be in the UK and watching his back. Meanwhile, in the eye of the storm, the McCanns continue the search for their lost daughter.

    From this account, it is clear that Brian Kennedy’s son Patrick featured strongly in the intelligence operation his father managed, precisely as I alleged in my postings on 3Arguidos dated 18 and 22 July 2009. I cannot therefore withdraw my assertion that he was ‘intimately involved with the McCann investigation’, but I am content to give you an undertaking not to not to publish an allegation that he was ‘involved in a cover-up’, or any similar allegation, in any medium.

    (4)    “That I identified Patrick Kennedy in a post which is part of a thread [on 3Arguidos] which alleged that a particular individual was involved in the actual disappearance of Madeleine McCann”.

    RESPONSE: I am aware of the existence of that thread and indeed other threads on 3Arguidos which alleged that either Brain Kennedy or a teenage son of his, or both, were in Praia das Luz at the same time as the McCanns. There has even been further speculation that one or the other (father or son) was in some way involved in the actual disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

    However, you will not find on the now-defunct 3Arguidos site nor anywhere else where I have ever made that allegation myself. I have always viewed it as an unsubstantiated rumour and you will not be able to find anything in writing from me anywhere which suggests otherwise.

    I do not have access to the posting I made on 3Arguidos in which I referred to Patrick Kennedy. However, I do have a clear recollection of it and I can be certain that what I said was in effect intended to contradict assertions that Patrick Kennedy was in Praia da Luz in April/May 2007. I recall specifically stating that his probable age was 20 to 30 and that therefore he could not be the ‘teenage son of Brian Kennedy’ whom others (but I emphasise not myself) were speculating was in Praia da Luz that week. I have no fear of your clients ‘referring to the totality of the discussion threads in question’ as I know that at no time have I ever suggested that either of your clients was in Praia da Luz that week.

    In addition to asking me to give undertakings, you have asked me to ‘use my best endeavours to remove the posting complained of from the 3Arguidos forum’.  In your letter of 28 August, you noted correctly that “the 3Arguidos forum appears temporarily to have been suspended”. On 28 August, when you wrote to me, the site was not visible except for a holding page saying that the site was temporarily unavailable. Since then, however, the whole site has been removed from the internet and comments made by the owners and former Moderators of that forum strongly suggest that the 3Arguidos site will never return. There is no way that I nor others can access the threads on that site.

    However, in line with your clients’ wishes, and in case the 3Arguidos site should ever be revived in some form, I have earlier this week written to the e-mail addresses I hold of the former owner and Moderators, asking them not to re-publish any allegedly defamatory postings I have made which refer to Brian Kennedy or Patrick Kennedy. I can produce copies of those e-mails on request.

    Yours sincerely

    Tony Bennett


    Letter 2

    From: Tony Bennett M.A.

    International Press Centre
    76 Shoe Lane
    EC4A 3JB
    Friday 18 September 2009

    Your Ref:  IH/DH/13837.1

    For the attention of Isabel Hudson

    Dear Sirs

    re: Alleged libel of Dr Gerald McCann and Dr Kate McCann-Healy

    Following your letter of 27 August and my e-mail of 11 September, and yours of 15 September, I have now taken legal advice as you suggested in your letter.

    In short, the advice received is that the legal issues involved in replying to your letter are so many and so complex that the advice of expert counsel is needed. I am not therefore in a position to reply in full to your letter at this time as I had hoped.

    I can say that one of the many issues which counsel will need to consider in detail is the delay in your clients taking the action they have now done in threatening libel proceedings.

    It was as long ago as Sunday 26 October 2008 when, in response to the setting-up of The Madeleine Foundation website on 20 October 2008, your clients’ chief public relations spokesman, Mr Clarence Mitchell, was reported in The People newspaper as saying, and I quote his words directly from the article: “Our lawyers are watching him. They are constantly monitoring his claims, which we consider are libellous”.

    So, even before 26 October, nearly 11 months ago, your clients’ lawyers believed that some of my claims (or those on The Madeleine Foundation website) were ‘libellous’.

    Furthermore, the enclosed letter was sent to your firm on 27 October under a Certificate of Posting, which we hold, from Madeleine Foundation Chairman Debbie Butler. Virtually identical letters were also sent direct to your clients, to their co-ordinating lawyer Edward Smethurst, and to Mr Clarence Mitchell. That letter clearly advised your clients that we were content to remove or amend any statement on our website which they could demonstrate to be untrue.  That remains true to this day.

    Our book: “What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann?” was published on 7 December 2007, over nine months ago.

    I am advised therefore that your demands for an immediate response have to be weighed against your clients’ inaction to date, despite your clients having purportedly identified material as libellous before 26 October 2008. Clearly your clients having delayed action for so long must allow me to take reasonable steps to deal with the many requests and legal issues within your 27 August letter.

    I need to inform you that tomorrow (19 September) I begin a pre-booked holiday in this country until 1 October. I shall then be out of the country from 7 to 16 October taking my Zagreb-born 89-year-old mother on a pre-booked trip to Austria, again booked before 27 August, which was triggered by a most unfortunate family tragedy when a close relative, film-maker Gerhard Friedl, committed suicide in July. My mother will be visiting and staying with his family. On both occasions I shall of course be unable to deal with correspondence and on each occasion I shall not be in internet contact. Please ensure that Adam Tudor makes very careful note of that. Should you require proof that both holidays were booked prior to 27 August, I can supply that.

    It is very possible that I will not be able to see and consider counsel’s advice before leaving the country on 7 October. Given the complex nature of the legal issues at stake, from which I am sure your firm would not dissent, and taking into account your clients’ long delay in taking any action about the contents of either our website or our book, my Solicitor considers it would be reasonable to ask you to wait until, say, one week after Friday 16 October, in order to be able to reply fully to your letter.

    I note your e-mail of 15 September in which you give me until 18 September to furnish you with a ‘substantive reply’. You quoted the ‘Pre-Action Protocol for Defamation’ which you showed me for the first time by e-mail attachment on 15 September. You completely failed to notify me of this Protocol, as you should have done, when you first wrote your letter to me on behalf of the McCanns on 27 August.

    It is a matter entirely for you and your clients if you decide now to instruct barristers to draft particulars of claim, writs etc. because this letter does not contain a substantive response to your clients’ demands. However, I can be certain that should this matter proceed to a court hearing, the court would take into account issues of proportionality and fairness in deciding whether you had waited a reasonable period for a response.

    Factors that the court would undoubtedly take into account, notwithstanding the two week period mentioned in the Pre-Action Protocol for Defamation, include:

    1. Your delay of over 10 months between the publication of our website and writing to me
    2. Your delay of exactly 10 months between the letter sent to you, the McCanns, Clarence Mitchell and two other of the McCanns’ lawyers by Debbie Butler on 27 October 2008 and your letter of 27 August 2009
    3. Your and your clients’ failure to take any steps to complain about any of the specific contents of either the website or the booklet to me or to Ms Butler despite specific offers to withdraw or amend any statements in them that your clients could demonstrate to be untrue
    4. The question of why, if your clients claim, as they do, in your letter of 27 August, that ‘the publication of the allegations complained of self-evidently ‘threaten very serious harm to our clients’ reputations’ they did not act immediately to injunct the website and booklet and apply for them to be, respectively, taken down and pulped at the outset. If they had done, they could have avoided the damage they say has since been done by hundreds of thousands of people visiting our website and reading our booklet
    5. The gross imbalance between your clients who are wealthy enough to be able (several times) to hire the country’s top libel lawyers – and myself, whose annual income is below the tax threshold
    6. The holidays, that I can demonstrate have both been pre-booked, which will seriously interfere with my or my Solicitor’s ability to respond within the 14-day period mentioned in the Pre-Action Protocol
    7. The undoubted complexity of the legal issues involved in this particular and unique case which in all fairness you must concede justifies a further delay whilst a barrister’s opinion is sought – you yourselves know the complexity of the issues.

    I turn now in addition to the following relevant extracts from the Pre-Action Protocol for Defamation, which you sent.

    First, regarding the 14-day period you have given me for reply, you made no mention of this in your initial letter received on 1 September 2009. You should have done.

    Second, in your further letter dated 16 September, you say: “The 14-day period is the period prescribed by the Pre-Action Protocol for Defamation”. That is untrue and I believe a deliberate misrepresentation of the Pre-Action Protocol. Given that your website claims that you are ‘the most feared libel lawyers in the U.K.’, you have a responsibility not to mislead those to whom you are writing, and here the Professional Code of Conduct for Solicitors is relevant. Principle 17.01: ‘Fairness’ states: “Solicitors must not act, whether in a professional capacity or otherwise, towards anyone in a way which is deceitful…”. I regard your statement that the 14 days is ‘prescribed’ as deceitful as you know it is not ‘prescribed’.

    Indeed, the Protocol states the following, inter alia:

    a)    “If the Defendant believes that s/he will be unable to respond within 14 days, then s/he should specify the date by which s/he intends to respond”. That is what I am doing by this letter
    b)    “The [Defendant’s] Response should include whether more information is required…If more information is required [by the Defendant], then the Defendant should specify precisely what information is needed to enable the claim to be dealt with and why”. I do require further information and this is set out below.
    c)    Paragraph 1.5 notes that the overriding objective’ is to ‘deal with a case justly’ and the Protocol goes on to define several relevant considerations, including the following which seem to me to apply very much in this particular case:

    (i)    ensuring that the parties are on an equal footing [clearly they are not at the moment since Adam Tudor is reported to on a sizeable monthly retainer for advising the McCanns on libel issues and the McCanns can afford to instruct the most feared libel lawyers in the land
    (ii)    dealing with the case in ways that are ‘proportionate’
    (iii)    the importance of the case [given its international significance, that must be a factor in this case]
    (iv)    the ‘complexity of the issues’, and
    (v)    ‘the financial position of each party’ (see point (c) (i) above.

    You did not mention any 14-day ‘response time in your initial letter, as you should have done, and when you did mention it you claimed it was a ‘prescribed’ time limit when on perusal of the Protocol it clearly is not. I shall therefore be reporting your conduct to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

    Information needed

    As is manifest form Paragraphs 3.4 and 3.5 of the Code, it is clear that I have the right to ask for reasonable information before considering my substantive response and my legal options.

    The information I and my Solicitor require is not much. It is simply this:

    Why, after Debbie Butler wrote to you, to the McCanns themselves, to Clarence Mitchell and two other sets of the McCann’s many lawyers on 27 October, did you leave it until 27 August 2009 to write a letter claiming that our website, launched on 20 October 2008 and our booklet, published on 7 December  2009, ‘threatened  very serious harm to our clients’ reputations”.

    The Pre-Action Protocol is crystal clear: “In particular, time is of the essence in defamation claims…almost invariably, a Claimant will be seeking an immediate correction and/or apology as part of the process of restoring his/her reputation”.

    The information I seek is this: I want to know why your clients delayed over 10 months from the launch of our website before they instructed you to write your letter of 27 August.

    I think there can be only two reasons:

    Either: (a) you advised them at the time (after all, Adam Tudor appears to have been on a monthly retainer from the McCanns for some considerable time) that, having regard to the Pre-Action Protocol, they should sue immediately for defamation, but for whatever reason they refused to take your advice,

    Or: (b) you failed to advise them of Paragraph 1.4 of the Pre-Action Protocol and the overriding need to act quickly if anyone think their reputation is being tarnished. The Protocol is plain: “Time is always [not sometimes] ‘of the essence”.

    Please convey your clients’ explanation for not acting sooner to restore what they claim caused ‘serious harm’ to their reputation, but instead waiting for over 10 months to write to me, as soon as convenient.

    In addition, as you will have seen from yesterday’s letter, I have taken legal advice on the other letter you have sent me about your clients Brian and Patrick Kennedy and have been able to furnished you with a substantive reply which I think meets all your clients demands. That was for two reasons: (1) the legal issues were far less complex and (2) your client’s demands were far less extensive in that case.

    I am in no way ducking or delaying a reply and as soon as I have further legal advice regarding your clients’ demands, I or my Solicitor will reply in full and substantively.

    I am willing to undertake therefore that either my Solicitor or I will respond in full to your letter of 27 August on or before Friday 23 October. Given (a) your failure to inform me initially of the existence of the Pre-Action Protocol (b) the misleading information you gave me subsequently about it, (c) that Paragraph 1.5 of the Pre-Action Protocol  gives a number of situations where a response in 14 days may not be practicable, and (d) given that from tomorrow I shall be absent on pre-booked holidays for 21 out of the next 26 days, I consider that an undertaking by me to reply no later than by 23 October meets the critieria in the Pre-Action Protocol and I suggest that, if proceedings are commenced by your prior to that date, a court would find my request not unreasonable in the very peculiar circumstances of this case.

    If we are practically able to reply sooner, we will.

    I wish also to correct a further inaccuracy I have noted on page 2 of your letter. The final paragraph of your letter states: “…you recently chose to plumb new depths by posting leaflets to residents of the village in which our clients live with their children”. I must inform you that I have never ‘posted’ or delivered or distributed any of the ‘10 Reasons’ leaflets nor indeed any other information or leaflet about Madeleine to anyone in Rothley. You need to withdraw that claim from your letter.

    Finally, a Mrs Brenda Ryan, a former owner of the 3Arguidos Forum which you mention in your original letter, has asked me to covey the following information to you:


    I need to make my position very clear. I have no control over the 3Arguidos site. I am not still in a position to have a say over the postings that you referred to in your letter to Carter-Ruck. I do not have a copy of the database and neither do I have any access rights to the database. I had no access to the database prior to the 3Arguidos going down and before I left. I never had access to the server side of things or the capability to back up the database. Please inform Carter Ruck that I was not the owner of 3Arguidos after 28th May 2009 (the date being prior to your postings about the Kennedys in July), and that I was not even an administrator when they wrote to you on 27th August. I merely forwarded you the e-mail address of ‘BeoWulf’ [the current owner]. I have no control over the 3Arguidos, its database or whether it would ever come back on the internet.


    Yours sincerely

    Tony Bennett

    ENC.  Letter of 27 October 2008 from Ms Debbie Butler, Chairman of The Madeleine Foundation, to Carter-Ruck

    McCann lawyers in website demand, 19 September 2009
    McCann lawyers in website demand The Press Association

    19 September 2009

    Lawyers representing Kate and Gerry McCann have demanded a website claiming their daughter was not abducted be taken down.

    The Madeleine Foundation claims Madeleine is dead and her parents bear some responsibility for her death.

    In a statement on its website, the foundation says libel specialists Carter-Ruck have also demanded they hand over all remaining copies of leaflets and booklets they published to support their claims.

    The spokesman for the McCann family, Clarence Mitchell said: "Kate and Gerry have consistently made it clear they will not dignify the actions of the so-called Madeleine Foundation with any comment whatsoever.

    "However Carter-Ruck's position is now clear and it is in the hands of Kate and Gerry's defamation lawyers."

    The statement on the foundation's website states they were given until Friday to reply to Carter-Ruck's letters and were now taking legal advice.

    Madeleine was nearly four when she vanished from her family's rented holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3 2007 while her parents dined with friends nearby.

    Mr and Mrs McCann, both doctors from Rothley, Leicestershire, tapped into the huge public interest into their daughter's disappearance and made repeated appeals for information.

    They feared their daughter had been abducted and taken abroad and set up an official website as part of their campaign to be re-united with their daughter.

    McCann lawyers order site removal BBC News

    Page last updated at 15:46 GMT, Saturday, 19 September 2009 16:46 UK

    Lawyers for the parents of missing toddler Madeleine McCann have demanded the removal of a website which claims their daughter is dead.

    The Madeleine Foundation website has also been ordered to hand over leaflets published to support its claims.

    The site alleges Madeleine was not abducted and that her parents bear some responsibility for her death.

    Madeleine, of Rothley, Leicestershire, was three when she vanished from the Algarve holiday flat on 3 May 2007.

    The spokesman for the McCann family, Clarence Mitchell, said: "Kate and Gerry have consistently made it clear they will not dignify the actions of the so-called Madeleine Foundation with any comment whatsoever."

    But he said the position of the McCann lawyers - libel specialists Carter-Ruck - was "clear".

    The Madeleine Foundation says it received legal letters from Carter-Ruck at the beginning of September.

    A statement on the site says it has been given until Friday 18 September to reply to Carter-Ruck's letters, and was now taking legal advice.

    Earlier this year, the McCanns decided to sue Portuguese police detective Goncalo Amaral for defamation.

    The decision was taken in a bid to prevent further publication of Mr Amaral's "deeply offensive" book The Truth of the Lie and his television documentary.

    Mr Amaral led the inquiry into the Madeleine's disappearance but was taken off the case in October 2007.

    The Madeleine Foundation accedes to Carter-Ruck's demands, 02 October 2009
    Is Free Speech Dead? The Website Formerly Known as The Madeleine Foundation

    Screenshot of The Madeleine Foundation website, 02 October 2009

    By admin (Stevo)
    Oct 2nd, 2009

    I just spoke to Tony Bennett and Debbie Butler on the phone after they had left a 4 hour session with lawyers.

    The outcome was that Tony wrote this note to Carter Ruck:
    'We confirm Tony Bennett's telephone call at 3:14pm to Julia that we both accede to the demands set out by your client, the McCanns in your letters to us of the 27th August 2009.

    Signed: Tony Bennett and Debbie Butler'
    More news will follow when Tony and Debbie get back home.


    Carter-Ruck's six key demands:

    As per their communication of 27th August 2009, and as stated by The Madeleine Foundation,

    To permanently take down our website at
    2)  To deliver up to Carter-Ruck all outstanding copies of the booklet "What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann? - 60 Reasons which suggest that she was not abducted"
    3)  To deliver up to Carter-Ruck all outstanding copies of the leaflet: "What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann? - 10 Key Reasons which suggest that she was not abducted"
    4)  To erase all electronic copies of both the booklet and the leaflet
    5)  To use our best endeavours to remove all allegedly defamatory postings by either of us on any website, forum or blog, and
    6)  To permanently cease from making any further allegedly defamatory statements about the McCanns.


    THE DECISION TO ACCEDE TO CARTER-RUCK'S DEMANDS The Website Formerly Known as The Madeleine Foundation

    By Tony Bennett
    02 October 2009

    Debbie and will explain this in full in due course.

    Today began at 4.00 am for Debbie and 5.00 am for me as we had an appointment with Kirwans Solicitors, Liverpool at 11.00am.

    The meeting was with Partners David Kirwan and Michael Sandys, Solicitor Julia Kirwan and Media Advisor Nick Mason and lasted four hours with three short interruptions.

    Clear advice was given that because of the high degree of uncertainty in libel litigation, no guarantee could be given that if we defended a libel suit, we would win. It was emphasised in graphic terms by one of the Partners that on a worst-case scenario the outcome could mean complete financial ruin for both Debbie and myself, with all our savings raided and court orders made to recover the equity value each of us have in the homes we own. It was also emphasised that Carter-Ruck had immense resources both within their firm and beyond them, that they could sustain a case lasting many weeks, and that to defend the proceedings would require us to engage libel lawyers at huge fees which neither of us could remotely afford to pay.

    We were further advised that correspondence between Kirwans Solicitors and Carter-Ruck on 24, 25 and 29 September and 1 October revealed a strong likelihood that Carter-Ruck had indeed already drafted a libel writ and would be ready to walk into the High Court on Monday (5th Oct) at 9.00am to issue a writ, unless we acceded to their demands in full by close of play on Friday (i.e. today).

    Accordingly we telephoned Carter-Ruck at 3.14pm today and faxed them written notice of our accession to the McCanns' demands at 3.25pm. Attempts to speak to both Adam Tudor and Isabel Hudson, the two main Solicitors conducting the litigation for Carter-Ruck, failed as we were informed that 'the entire department' was tied up in a meeting this afternoon. That was still the case when we telephoned again at 4.47pm to make absolutely sure that our fax had been safely received. Julia on the switchboard confirmed that it had been.

    Kirwans offered to assist us with concluding written terms of settlement with the McCanns, via Carter-Ruck, if we paid them a retainer of £5,000 plus VAT. After a short period of consideration, Debbie and I decided that neither of us could afford this. We offered the sum of £500.00 to Kirwans for their advice to date which was accepted and paid by us. I should explain that this was in respect of several hours of advice and assistance from Kirwans during the period 24 September until today, notably including a sentence-by-sentence analysis of the '60 Reasons' book by Partner Michael Sandys, for which we are grateful.

    As we cannot afford further legal help, we shall have to deal with any further correspondence with Carter-Ruck ourselves.

    That's all, and I have to be up again at 7.00am in order to make our Cardiff meeting tomorrow on time.


    I wish to make it clear to all readers of this forum, whoever they are, that as from today we gave notice to Carter-Ruck that we acceded to their demand that The Madeleine Foundation website be 'suspended permanently'. Stevo has exercised what he asserts are his rights associated with registration and ownership of the domain name etc. and is now in personal and sole control of this website which has been re-named.


    Anti-McCann group facing fraud probe, 07 November 2009
    Anti-McCann group facing fraud probe The Sun

    Published: 07 Nov 2009

    FRAUD cops are probing the bank account of a campaign group which says Maddie McCann is dead - and aims to blame her parents.

    Controversial lawyer Tony Bennett helped set up the Madeleine Foundation, but its account is now frozen.

    Detectives want assurances over tens of thousands of pounds sent in by people supporting his warped aims.

    Bennett, 62, ran the account from his home in Harlow, Essex.

    Much of the cash came from the sale of £4 books blaming the McCanns after the three-year-old vanished in Portugal in 2007.

    The couple think many people may have mistakenly donated believing they were funding the hunt for Maddie.

    The account holds £2,700 but Mr Bennett is thought to have £90,000 in private accounts.

    A rift had developed between Bennett and foundation chairwoman Debbie Butler. Police stressed the case was still only an investigation and no arrests had been made.

    A source close to Gerry and Kate McCann said: "This foundation is now in meltdown. They can't wait to see the end of it."


    Madeleine McCann Cash Quiz The People

    By Russell Myers
    8 November 2009

    Cops are investigating the finances of a smear group that claims missing Madeleine McCann is dead.

    Detectives are probing claims the boss of the Madeleine Foundation pocketed up to £90,000 of donations from people who thought they were helping the official Find Madeleine Fund.

    Retired solicitor Tony Bennett, 62, runs the group from his home in Harlow, Essex.
    And much of the cash under investigation comes from sales of a book he wrote blaming Maddie's parents Kate and Gerry for the threeyear-old's disappearance. All his group's accounts have now been frozen.

    A McCann spokesman said last night: "It has been made clear to Mr Bennett by Kate and Gerry's lawyers that he must desist from his defamatory activities."

    Meanwhile the McCanns, of Rothley, Leics, are drip-feeding their four-year-old twins information on Madeleine as they grow up.

    Gp Kate, 41, said child psychologists have advised them Sean and Amelie will question them about their sister when they feel ready.

    She added: "If they ask a question, we'll answer them honestly. But I'm not going to rush them."

    Maddie vanished her parents' holiday flat in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007.

    Kate said: "All we want to do is find her - and the only way we can do that is by looking forward."

    Court order, 25 November 2009

    On 13 November 2009 Tony Bennett formally undertakes (amongst other things) not to repeat any allegations about the McCanns to the effect that they were guilty of, or to be suspected of causing the death of Madeleine McCann; and/or of disposing of her body; and/or of lying about what had happened and/or of seeking to cover up what they had done. These undertakings were enshrined by way of Court order of 25 November 2009.

    - Source: Carter-Ruck letter of 15 July 2010

    COURT ORDER 25 NOVEMBER 2009 MCCANNS v. BENNETT, 26 November 2009

    By Tony Bennett
    Posted by Hardlinemarxist on 26/11/2009

    This is just to report to you all that yesterday in the Queens Bench Division, Dr Gerald McCann and Dr Kate McCann made an application against me, Reference 5196 of 2009, for an unspecified amount of damages for libel, though limited to 'no more than £50,000', and for an injunction restraining me from making any further libellous allegations against them.

    On the basis of previous correspondence conducted via Carter-Ruck since their first e-mailed letter sent on 27 August 2009, and on the basis of a signed undertaking by myself earlier this month, the following has been agreed BY CONSENT:

    1. I have given a number of undertakings as required by Carter-Ruck on behalf of the McCanns

    2. The McCanns have agreed that the proceedings be 'stayed' indefinitley, that is, suspended or held in abeyance

    3. I have already paid what was said to have been the Court fee of £440.00

    4. The McCanns have made no other claim against me in respect of their costs.

    There was no personal appearance in Court by any of the parties.


    1. I should like to publicly thank the following for generous contributions already received towards my costs of £440:

    a) Peter MacLeod
    b) Sharon Lawrence
    c) Renee Neuville
    d) 'Bomaris'.

    2. Carter-Ruck told me today that they had got the Court fee wrong and that it was only £400. Their letter to me today (26 November) states:

    "Please also find enclosed a cheque in the sum of £40.00; these funds are being returned to you because the Court fees incurred by our clients totalled only £400.00, rather than the £440.00 we had anticipated".

    With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files


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